The writing for Ethan Bear was on the wall when the Edmonton Oilers re-signed Tyson Barrie and inked Cody Ceci not long into free agency this year.
In fact, the writing was so on the wall that not long after those two signings were reported, Ethan Bear was destined for Carolina with Warren Foegele coming back the other way.
It was a deal that addressed needs for both organizations. Edmonton needed depth scoring up front and Carolina needed to try and fill the massive void created with Dougie Hamilton leaving town.
But is it a deal both teams may regret?
On the 31 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had some interesting comments on the trade:
Foegele is an interesting one because there was a ton of interest in Foegele. I heard Carolina was a little surprised by how much interest there was to the point where they said “are we kind of making a mistake here? Should we keep him?” but they couldn’t get a deal done and now Foegele has got one done in Edmonton.
The Bear thing surprised me because I really like Bear. I like him as a player, I think he’s still got room to get better. I realize you have to give quality to get quality, but Bear is the one more I wonder if Edmonton looks back on and says “I wished we coulda had that one over.”
Both teams clearly valued their respective players and as Friedman mentioned, Carolina tried to keep Foegele around. A discrepancy in contract negotiations, however, led to his ultimate departure.
While I’m a relative fan of the trade, the Oilers clearly felt Bear wasn’t the right long-term fit for the backend. I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment because, despite his lack of size, I think he definitely made up for it with great positional play.
However you cut it, Cody Ceci’s 6’2, 210 lb. frame was needed to help make up for the loss of Adam Larsson on the backend. Edmonton felt that Bear couldn’t provide the jam in the defensive zone Ceci could, and alas, the deal was made.
I think at the end of the day, Bear will go on to have a long career as a top-four, and that yes, the Oilers could one day regret the deal for losing what Bear brought to the table.
But on the flip side, it’s clear Carolina liked Foegele. A fast, aggressive 5×5 scorer who kills penalties very well and is a dogged forechecker. There’s a lot to like about what he will bring to Edmonton and he’s only a year older than Bear.
I think it isn’t out of the question to see Foegele be able to grow into a top-six role, something that Carolina may one day regret.