by Lowetide

One of hockey’s ‘forgotten arts’ is the headman pass. Tape-to-tape on the fly, you see it in today’s game but it’s rare enough for scouts to covet that element of the offensive sortie. Ethan Bear has a range of skills and has real promise as a pro player, but the thing that caught my eye early on was the mention of passing. It is such a big part of the game and yet there are NHL players who can’t really count it a a strength. Career opportunities are good for young men like Ethan Bear.


  • December 2004: G Devan Dubnyk (251)
  • December 2005: L Tony Salmelainen (70)
  • December 2006: D Jozef Hrabal (0)
  • December 2007: G Devan Dubnyk (251)
  • December 2008: D Cody Wild (0)
  • December 2009: L Teemu Hartikainen (52)
  • December 2010: C Anton Lander (155)
  • December 2011: R Tyler Pitlick (27)
  • December 2012: R Tyler Pitlick (27)
  • December 2013: D Martin Gernat (0)
  • December 2014: C Kyle Platzer (0)

Dubnyk was brought along slowly, always looked like a future NHL G (Asiaoil called it when he was back in Kamlooops) and the winter 2010 list was especially strong. Other than that, by the time we get to No . 10 on the list we’re around 50/50 to make the show and only two men have played more than 100 games.

bear capture


  • Red Line Report: Shutdown rearguard plays against the opposing teams’ top line every night and refuses to give away even an inch of space. Owns a laser shot that often finds the net – keeps it low and often produces dangerous rebounds. A good skater who likes to take the puck deep into the offensive zone and create chances, yet still has the speed to get back on defence.
  • Corey Pronman: “He’s not a really flashy guy, I don’t think he’s won a major accolade or anything of the sort. He was consistently impressive this season, especially against his own age group. I thought he looked good at the Ivan Hlinka and U18’s, he looked like one of the better 1997 defensemen. Throughout the entire WHL season he was very good—not amazing, but steady in both ends. He could move the puck, he played hard and showed good hockey sense on both sides of the puck.”
  • Black Book: He prefers to use outlet passes, which he is very good at delivering to his teammates—sometimes sending the puck tape-to-tape from his own goalline to the opposition’s blueline.
  • McKeens: Strong, physical defender – solidly-built and a tenacious competitor .. not flashy skill wise, however makes smart plays and packs a powerful shot.
  • ISS: Does a lot of things well, but mainly plays a strong defensive and physical game. Strong in front of the net and along the boards, doesn’t run around in the defensive zone and has good positioning.


  • Summer 2015: No. 10
  • Winter 2015: No. 9

I had Bear as a second-round pick on my 2015 draft list, so also had him high in the top 20 in the days after his selection. He’s covered that bet so far, moved up a little on what is a very fluid top 20 this winter.


  • Bruce McCurdy: The puck went through his stick a lot, generally headed in the right direction bar a couple of passes that didn’t click and one ambush that resulted in a turnover in his own territory. But without a doubt he was a central player in the Thunderbirds’ scheme of things, and moving the disc was a big part of his role. Source
  • Ethan Bear: “I’d say I’m a two-way puck moving defenceman, I can shoot, I can skate, I position myself well.” Source
  • Future Considerations: Bear is a puck-moving defenseman who plays a top pairing role with Seattle. He is a very mobile player, skating powerfully and exhibiting good speed and a knack for rushing the puck. Good edge work and quick in transition allows him to have a good jump on the play.

  • Craig Button: There’s a lot of substance in his game. He doesn’t get himself into trouble, you earn everything you get when playing against him. Coming out of his own zone, he understands what the options are and these are things that will translate to the NHL.

Button’s comments jive with a conversation I had with an eastern NHL team’s western scout. It’s important not to overstate the potential, because it needs to be married to hard work and years of physical maturation, but this is a substantial prospect.


Bear’s offense is intriguing (NHLE was 11 points last season, at 22 as we speak for this year. Source: CHL stats) but the range of skills is the thing that gets my attention. A good passer, mobile, a little undersized (6.0, 197), plays a rugged style and makes good, quick decisions. That sounds like a very good comp for the modern NHL defenseman. Again, many miles to go.


  • C Connor McDavid, No. 1 overall. Incredible talent took about four games to kick out the jams. Oilers fans remain in a major sulk, and with good reason. Good times on the way when he returns. No. 1 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • D Caleb Jones, No. 117 overall. The smooth skating defender has been a revelation, displaying a nice range of skills in his early WHL career. A candidate for the Winter Top 20.
  • D Ethan Bear, No. 124 overall. Surprised he fell as he did in this year’s draft (Button had him third round, I had him second). Either way, he’s an Oilers prospect and things are progressing very well—Bear is No. 2 in scoring by defensemen in the WHL so far this year. No. 9 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • D John Marino, No. 154 overall. Mobile offensive defender had an immediate impact with Tri-City Storm of the USHL. Cooled off, but a promising first quarter. A candidate for the Winter Top 20.
  • G Miroslav Svoboda, No. 208 overall. Struggled in the Cze-2 league early but recent efforts have been very strong. Early days. A candidate for the Winter Top 20.
  • D Ziyat Paigin, No. 209 overall. A transfer to Sochi has this KHL D on fire. He’s 20GP, 4-6-10 so far this KHL season and that’s exceptional. A candidate for the Winter Top 20.



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[…] Drafted just seven spots after Caleb Jones is Ethan Bear, who was / still is a Lowetide Favorite  […]


I watched Bear when the Thunderbirds came to town. He and Barzal were out a lot together and played a 2 person game almost all the time. Everyone else on the ice with them were incidental.

The Oil Kings had a “bear” of a time containing these two! :))


This draft will of course always be about McDavid, but I’ve got to say we’re looking 4/4 in terms of drafted D. That’s exceptional, even moreso since they all came in late rounds.

Early days, small samples, miles to go. Great start though.

Marino is tracking worst of the bunch, and he’s doing just fine.

Johnny skid

Found a great celebration gif for the next time the Oilers win a game.

Thought I’d better post it here now rather than wait a month and risk forgetting about it.

I kid.

It’d probably only be, like, two weeks, max!


is that theo fleury? i think i remember him doing that move.


Found a great celebration gif for the next time the Oilers win a game.

Thought I’d better post it here now rather than wait a month and risk forgetting about it.

I kid.

It’d probably only be, like, two weeks, max!



Any chance we have a pre-draft scouting report on Sekera? In reading this write-up I’m struck about how similar Bear’s game sounds when compared to how Sekera when he was in Carolina. Shutdown, puck moving ability, PP slapshot.


As I recall RLR is a pretty hard marker.

That’s effusive by their standards and bodes well for Bob Green’s first draft.

Usually in a draft year you can look at a cohort of prospects and say relatively early on “well, they kind of flubbed that one, but gave themselves a chance to recover with this other kid”.

This cohort looks good all around. I’m not saying they’ll turn out, but by heaven they’ve got a fighting chance which is more than you could say when they were taking kids like Hesketh and Abney.


LT, thanks for keeping us grounded a little about this kid.

I don’t think there was a single negative thing said about him in all of the scouting reports.

And the positive covered every facet of the game: Shutdown D playing top comp. Physical and a competitor. Good skater. Great shot. Great passer. And the PPG results this year back up the 2-way verbal.

He’s obviously got his limitations, but this looks like a really really nice prospect. If he had draft pedigree (ie – had actually been drafted in the 2nd round) then I think everyone would be a whole lot more excited about season he’s having.

Hope he keeps it up, and it looks like he could be a real steal.

Stud Muffin

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