The 23-year-old didn’t record a point in his first five NHL outings, posting a -3 rating and three shots on goal while averaging 12:57 per game. He spent a little over a third of his 5-on-5 ice time with Conor Garland and Elias Lindholm, although the trio struggled to maintain possession with a 38.1% expected goals share, per MoneyPuck. Individually, Bains posted poor possession numbers with a 45.5 CF% at even strength and an expected rating of -1.6, although starting 61% of his shifts in the defensive zone likely didn’t help matters.
That showing shouldn’t detract much from a promising season for the Surrey, British Columbia native, though. An undrafted free agent signing by the Canucks from the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels in 2022, Bains has broken out for nine goals and 30 assists for 39 points in 42 games in his sophomore season with Abbotsford, leading the team in scoring. His +13 rating is also a team-high.
Bains doesn’t yet require waivers for a minor-league assignment, and it’ll be a while before he does. He must play two more professional seasons or 75 NHL games, whichever comes first, before his waiver exemption lapses.
He now returns to Abbotsford, where he’ll earn his minor-league salary of $70K compared to his NHL salary of $775K. He has one more season remaining on his entry-level contract, with a cap hit of $816.7K. He’ll be an RFA upon expiry in 2025.