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Former Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear undergoes surgery for injury that plagued him for years

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Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
3 months ago
Former Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear has undergone shoulder surgery for an injury that has plagued him back to his days with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors.
News of the surgery was broken Thursday by CHEK News’ Rick Dhaliwal.
Bear, 25, was drafted by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 2015 draft and broke into the NHL with the team full-time in 2019-20, despite having played 18 games with the club back in 2017-18. The Oilers ultimately traded him in the summer of 2021 to the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Warren Foegele, who has fit in well with the team in a depth role.
But the shoulder problem that Bear has dealt with dates back to his time with Condors back in 2018-19, his agent Jason Davidson told Dhaliwal Friday. The surgery comes after Bear reaggravated the injury playing for Canada at the World Championships this year where the team won gold. Bear played in eight games there.
During that 2018-19 season with the Condors, Bear played in 52 of the teams 68 games during the regular season. He missed five of the teams first seven games to start the year, then missed eight of 10 games between early February and early March. He also missed the final three games of the regular season, and appeared in eight of 10 playoff games.
Bear was productive for the Condors that season having scored six goals and 31 points adding another two goals and four points in the playoffs. He came into Oilers camp in 2019-20 and played 1308 minutes at 5×5 over 71 games — the second most among all Oilers defencemen. He played 1152 minutes with Darnell Nurse at 5×5 that season in the top-four.
The 2020-21 season was a different story for Bear as there was some regression in his game and it was clear he wasn’t the same player he was the year before. He missed the Oilers’ fourth game of that season due to a healthy scratch, and missed an 11-game stretch between January 31st and February 20th after he was struck in the head with a puck while sitting on the bench. Similar to the fourth game of the season, Bear missed another game on May 4th as the Oilers experimented with defensive pairs.
Could the shoulder have plagued him during that season? It’s entirely possible. He had admitted that the concussion from the puck hit had an impact on his game, but there was no talk that season about him dealing with a shoulder injury. In fact, in looking around, I couldn’t find any mention of him dealing with a shoulder problem over the years.
Nonetheless, Bear played 58 games with the Carolina Hurricanes after the Oilers traded him there, and landed with the Vancouver Canucks last season in a trade, where he found a resurgence in his game.
Bear is expected to miss the next six months and is a pending RFA with arbitration rights.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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