Arshdeep Bains Called-up Again, Expected Impact This Time Around

By: Brayden Fengler / March 27, 2024  

Arshdeep Bains was just called up from the Abbotsford Canucks for the second time this season. He has already played five games with the Canucks this year, with his NHL debut on February 20th.

Bains was then sent back down to Abbotsford after the Canucks’ February 29th contest against the Colorado Avalanche. Other circumstances beyond Bains performance led to his original call-up and a subsequent second one. Nevertheless, he has continued to perform well enough in the AHL to punch his ticket back to the NHL at the earliest possible opportunity. What remains to be seen is what he will do while in the big leagues once more this season.

Bigger Picture of Around Bains

Bains’ second call-up of the season comes in conjunction with the announcement that goalie Thatcher Demko has been placed on LTIR.

Further line-up news on the day of Bains’ call-up indicates that Dakota Joshua is back in the Canucks line-up as well. Joshua was spotted at Wednesday’s practice and reportedly practicing on a top-line with JT Miller and Brock Boeser.

These line-up moves are notable. Demko’s retroactive placement on LTIR allows the Canucks to have more cap room than they know what to do with, as Demko gives Vancouver a $5M salary relief by sitting in LTIR. A dollar amount that large is far more than the club needs to accommodate Joshua and Bains playing on the club, so although announced at the same time, both moves are largely inconsequential to each other.

Bains was called up for the first time shortly after Joshua was officially placed on IR back in February. Vasily Podkolzin was later called up to the big club in place of Bains before Joshua was healthy, but now with more Canucks out, namely Elias Lindholm, there is room for Podkolzin, Bains and Joshua to all stay up with the big club.

Bains Production

Wednesday’s practice lines had Bains and Phillip Di Giuseppe as extra men, which puts a question mark on how much the Canucks expect Bains to factor into games.

Bains didn’t earn any points in his five contests with the Canucks in February. But to his credit, when he arrived, the club was undergoing their most uncharacteristic stretch of the season. The Canucks only won a single game during his time with the club as he drew into the line-up the middle of the team’s first and only four-game losing streak of the season.

Despite these stacked odds, Bains played well and held his own in the NHL for the short time he was here. Bains racked up three hits during his first contest against the Avalanche. Throughout all five contexts, he had six shot attempts, three shots, and while his overall Corsi For percentage was below 50%, at 47.6% it was respectable given the slump the team was in.

Since Bains was sent back to Abbotsford, he has been a near point-per-game player, earning 11 points in 10 games. Bains has increased his pace of production by 36% compared to the 11 games prior to his NHL debut and sits with 49 points in 53 AHL games played.

Bains Utilization With 10 Games Left

With Bains on the outside looking in at his first practice back with the big club, it remains to be seen how the Canucks plan to make use of the left winger this time around. Last time he was deployed during NHL games Garland and Boeser were his main partners in crime. With Joshua back it seems like he may bump Mikheyev off of the line with Boeser and Miller.

However, based on today’s practice lines, with Lindholm’s absence, the rest of the lines seem to be in a blender to some degree. So it’s likely that if and when Bains gets the go-ahead to lace up for his next NHL game, it will be with different dance partners than last time around.

Hopefully, with the Canucks’ momentum still holding strong since Demko’s injury, Bains’ reintroduction into the NHL Canucks with potentially different linemates allows him to translate some of his increased AHL points production to the NHL stage, if only for a game or two.