The 21-year-old forward is currently the Western Hockey League’s leading scorer, having scored 30 goals and 52 assists for 82 points so far.

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The Vancouver Canucks took a flyer from a hometown kid.

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Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced Friday that the team has signed Arshdeep Bains to an entry-level contract. Bains, 21, grew up in Surrey.

Bains played for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League for five seasons and is currently the WHL’s leading scorer, having scored 30 goals and 52 assists for 82 points so far. According to the Canucks, he is the first player of South Asian descent to be the WHL’s leading scorer.

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He’s long been known for his good hands, but as is often the case with prospects, most scouts say he needs to improve his skating to have a shot at making the NHL. “He’s fine,” said an NHL scout.

“It’s a fun story,” Cam Robinson, director of video scouting for Elite Prospects, told Postmedia.

“A kid who has earned his stripes and worked his way up gets a contract with his hometown team. He is light and skilful but can also be tenacious. Obviously a big grain of salt on his production since he is 21 years old now. But he was good in the bubble as U20 last year.

With the Canucks lacking depth in their prospect pool, there will be plenty of opportunities to prove himself as a pro, starting next season.

Northeast Vancouver Chiefs major midget coach Jamie Jackson has known Bains since he was seven years old and coached him in his last full midget season for the U18 Chiefs before Bains moved to junior major.

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He also worked individually with Bains for years as a skills development coach.

“He’s an athlete, he’s a player, he always wanted to be a pro,” Jackson said.

A lot of young players have that ambition, but his work ethic has always been what sets him apart from his peers, Jackson added. As a young player, Bains didn’t stand out like some young players do, but he never stopped honing his skills.

“He’s just been this mature young man since I met him,” Jackson said. “He lives at the rink, he works non-stop at his job. He doesn’t go out and mess around. He is there with a purpose.

“I know his family well. I think his family taught him great values ​​in life,” Jackson said, adding that he spoke with Bains’ father, Kuldeep. “His father is almost in tears. His father is quite an amazing and generous guy.

Jackson and Bains worked on his skills again this summer and now Bains is also helping Jackson in the longtime coach’s skills camps.

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If Red Deer’s season ends before the Abbotsford Canucks campaign, he could sign a tryout contract to end the season in the American Hockey League.

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