Edmonton Oilers sign Ethan Bear to two-year contract extension

The Edmonton Oilers have signed RFA defenceman Ethan Bear to a two-year contract worth paying him an AAV of $2-million, first reported Monday night by PuckPedia.

The new deal will pay him $1.5-million in salary in the first year and $2.5-million in the second year, PuckPedia reported. Upon the contract finishing, he will be owed a $2.4-million qualifying offer and will remain an RFA two years from unrestricted free agency, PuckPedia reported.

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Bear was due a new contract ahead of this season after coming off a breakout campaign. In his first full season in the NHL, Bear appeared in 71 games scoring five goals and 21 points placing him fifth in scoring among rookies.

Playing alongside Darnell Nurse, Bear received nine votes for the Calder trophy — enough to place him 10th in the race.

It’s uncommon for fifth-round players to turn into regular NHL’ers, let alone step into the league as a rookie and be a force night in an night out. For a season where he had little to no expectations, Bear exceeded every step in the way and grew every night he was on the ice.

Early in his career, he’s shown the ability to move the puck with poise, all the while cleaning up nicely in his own zone. He has very solid hockey IQ and isn’t often caught out of position.

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His underlying numbers this year were decent. Offensively, he contributed at a rate half a percent below league average, while bringing defence at a two percent rate above league average, according to HockeyViz.com.

At even-strength he’s posted a 49.05 CF%, 48.97 GF%, a 49.76 xG% and a perfect 100 PDO. According to puckiq.com, Bear’s played the most of his minutes against elite competition and while he’s struggled driving play (44.40 CF%), his goals for rate of 56.80% has been tremendous — the PDO of 104.8 is on the high side suggests there may be some regression there.

The deal is solid for Bear, and for the team. Edmonton gets him at a low-price and as much as it’s a chance for the Oilers to save a few bucks, it’s also a chance for Bear to prove his true worth in the NHL. He could go out and prove himself as a top-four defenceman and cash in on his next deal and that’s a risk the Edmonton Oilers are apparently willing to take.

On Twitter: @zjlaing



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