Since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Oilers fans have been keeping a close eye on defensive prospect Ethan Bear. Since being selected 124th overall, Bear has continued to develop nicely, putting up two excellent post-draft seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds before making his professional debut with the Bakersfield Condors in 2017-18. Bear went on to make his NHL debut with the Oilers at the end of their campaign, playing in 18 games and scoring one goal and three assists. What does the future hold for Ethan Bear? For Oilers fans, we can only hope the sky is the limit.
Position: Defence — Shoots: Right
Born: June 26th, 1997 — City: Regina, Saskatchewan
Height: 5 feet 11 inches — Weight: 209 lbs [180 cm/95 kg]
Drafted: 124th overall (fifth round) in 2015
Junior Team: Seattle Thunderbirds — League: WHL
Current Team: Bakersfield Condors
NEWS AND SCOUTING REPORTS
Earlier this month, Jason Gregor spoke about Ethan Bear in his list of the Top 10 prospects in the Edmonton Oilers system:
The addition of Bouchard impacts Bear directly. Bear performed well when recalled late last year, but he needs to improve his defensive game. He’s only played 37 AHL games and 18 NHL games. Like most offensive-minded young defenders, improving his defensive awareness will be his biggest challenge. Bear thinks the game well, is a solid passer and has a great shot. He has many NHL qualities. His biggest challenge will be ensuring he puts in the work in the off-season to become an NHL player. In the past his off-season training wasn’t consistent enough. The dedication when no one is watching (TV or coaches) is what separates many players from making the NHL or just hanging around. He has the skill, and I think getting a taste of the NHL last year will motivate him to ensure he is working as hard as other aspiring NHL players in the off-season.
Dustin Nielson also touched on Bear’s place in the organization in his post-draft prospect rankings:
If Ethan Bear shows well in camp he could see himself in the mix early for the Oilers. I’d expect Bear to spend the majority of the season in Bakersfield while at the same time playing the role of first call up on the blueline when injuries occur in the top seven. Long-term he could fit in nicely as a depth option behind Larsson and Bouchard on the right side.
Back in June, Jameson Ewasiuk looked at Bear’s progress at Dobber Prospects:
Expectations were high for Bear last season as he graduated from the WHL and looked to bring his offensive abilities to the pro level. Despite missing some time due to injury, the young defender proved to be one of very few promising Oilers’ prospects on the Bakersfield Condors. In 34 games with the Condors last season Bear recorded six goals and 16 points, and has found himself consistently playing on the power play. His numbers are respectable considering that his team was last in the Pacific division and that only three teams in the entire AHL had scored fewer goals when he was called up. His defensive game is slowly getting better, and his mobility for his size needs improvement, but there is definitely fantasy upside with this player. With the Oilers trading Brandon Davidson in February, and with Kris Russell nursing an injury, the Oilers opted to recall Bear on February 27th. With Adam Larsson missing time due to personal reasons, the young defender made his NHL debut on March first against the Nashville Predators where he recorded a minus three rating and no points. In 18 games with Edmonton last season, Bear recorded one goal and four points. With the Oilers’ lack of right handed defencemen, the team’s general lack of quality offensive defenders and their poor power play, Bear has a good opportunity to find a spot on the Oilers defence and possibly cement himself as a power play specialist within a season or two.
- NHL Central Scouting – 97th
- Future Considerations – 86th
- Craig Button – 77th
- ISS Hockey – Unranked
VIDEO AND HIGHLIGHTS
As always, Edmonton Future Watch put together an excellent compilation of Ethan Bear highlights from the 2017-18 season:
Bear’s first NHL goal, assisted by Connor McDavid:
Sportsnet put together a wonderful feature on Bear’s journey to professional hockey:
Ethan Bear vs Dawson Leedahl
|2011-12||Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep||OMAHA||40||12||32||44||45|
|Canada Western U17 “C”||WHC-17||5||0||1||1||0|
|2016-17||Seattle Thunderbirds “A”||WHL||67||28||42||70||21||34||17||6||20||26||12||11|
|2011-12||Pursuit of Excellence Bantm Prep||John Reid Bantam||6||0||4||4||17|
|Canada U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||5||1||1||2||2||7|