The Edmonton Oilers cracked the mic at the 1997 draft and called out the name Jason Chimera, and mister that’s the last time the scouts hit a home run selecting a teenager in the fifth round. There’s no way anyone should predict such a brilliant career for Ethan Bear but he arrives in pro hockey with real promise. Chosen in a wicked good draft summer, perhaps the hockey Gods gifted the Oilers another brilliant son of the prairies.
RE 17-18: 1GP, 0-0-0
- What role will Bear apply for? Once he arrives, and that could be two years from now, Bear probably helps at evens and on PK. He also has a monster shot from the point and was very successful on the power play, that’s a possibility at the NHL level (although competition for those jobs is insane).
- Will the Oilers slow play Bear? Historically, the team has brought along defensemen pretty well, it’s the forwards who appear to die on the vine.
- Does he have a real chance? Bear enters the organization at a better period than a player like Alex Plante and has more (imo) of a chance due to speed and range of skills. Edmonton is better at the draft table now, we’ll see if they can develop some of these CHL defenders.
- Who was the last CHL defender to come through the system successfully? I’ll list Brandon Davidson because Darnell Nurse barely played in the AHL. Others include Martin Marincin and Theo Peckham, depending on your definition of success.
- What makes him attractive for this roster? He is a righty and has great passing and shooting ability. He can play defense capably, although we don’t know if any of these new men (Bear, Paigin, Jones, Mantha) will be defenders of great note.
- What is a reasonable timeline for full time NHL duty? Defensemen can take some time and of course opportunity has to arrive. Bear is blessed in that way, being a RHD his depth chart is far less than the lefties. I don’t think we should be surprised if it takes all of his entry-level deal (and of course there are no guarantees with any prospects). If Bear arrives as an NHL defenseman, it will probably be less fast track and more of a consistent build toward being an NHL regular.
- What will his role be in Bakersfield? At the AHL level, I think Bear can help in multiple areas. Edmonton has plenty of experience on the blue (Fayne, Stanton, Lowe, Simpson) so won’t have to hurry these young defensemen. Still, he should push up the depth chart in year one and play in all disciplines.
- What one thing will get him to the NHL? Range of skills. Red Line’s first scouting report on Bear talked about all the things he could do and he’s improved since then.
- What will keep him from getting an NHL look? He has the complete range, so I’ll say mobility and coverage.
- How many players can he reasonably be expected to pass in one winter? On the RHD depth chart (Larsson, Russell, Benning, Gryba, Fayne) there’s really no one he is going to pass. That doesn’t mean he won’t get a look with the big team this season, though. Ethan Bear has a great chance to play in the NHL during his entry-level deal. How much he plays probably depends on how quickly he learns the quickness of the pro game. Once the ebb and flow of defense slow down for him, Bear will be able to move the puck effectively and spend less time defending.