by Lowetide

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

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. What will keep him from getting an NHL look? He has the complete range, so I’ll say mobility and coverage.
  10. 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.



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Bank Shot

If you look at the list of players that have won defenseman of the year, there aren’t a lot of duds on it.

The guys that won it in 17 or 18 year old seasons generally went on to be stars.
Two guys that won it in their 20 year old season were the only duds.
Guys that won it in their 19 year old season like Bear at least played around a season’s worth of NHL games at minimum.

It gives me hope that this guy can be a player of some kind. Go Bear!


I could see Mantha in Wichita to start this season.

I agree with the statement that, for d-man, it is sometimes easier to play in the NHL – its not uncommon for a d-man to be OK in the minors and then flourish in the NHL when surrounded with more talent. Offence for a d-man can spike in the NHL over the AHL (see Klefbom, Oscar).

With that said, i hope we don’t see any of these four d-men in the NHL this year – they all need to marinate and continue to develop – that is why we made signings like Stanton, Auvitu and have Fayne and Simpson.

Lets stay patient and we will be rewarded down the line.

Leonnor McDraivid

I’m excited to see how all these young defenders develop…Bear, Jones, Paigin, and Mantha. The Oilers have a solid young defense (Klefbom, Larsson, Benning, Nurse) along with solid young defensemen coming up the pipeline. However, there is also a log jam coming in both Edmonton and Bakersfield. With Fayne, Stanton, Lowe and Simpson in Bakersfield along with all the young guys…How are all these guys going to get playing time? The answer is Wichita. Which one of the Oilers’ depth defensemen is playing in the ECHL next season? Also, I’ve heard a lot of defensemen say that it is easier to play in the NHL than the AHL because it’s a more structured game. So, I forsee some of these young guys coming to Edmonton quickly. How are the Oilers going to keep all these guys?


Bear has done nothing but exceed expectations since drafted.

Hopefully he continues to do so as a pro and next year at this time he is a serious contender to break camp with the team – that would still put him ahead of my reasonable schedule.

Fun times ahead with the four new pro d-men in the organization (NA pro for Paigan).


Not a lot of offense from the Bakersfield veterans. Hopefully Bear will get real PP minutes and can do something with them. If so, that should keep him in the lineup and give him the opportunity to develop the rest of his game. He looks like a Hell of a prospect from deep in the draft.


Yes, I remember watching in the M. Cup and Bear along with the entire team showed very poorly – they team was under-dogs and Bear’s hand I’m sure was a factor.

His great performance in the WHL playoffs while playing with a broken hand should not be under-stated.

Silver Streak

I forgot about his bad hand in the Memorial Cup Tourney….he like all Thunderbirds had a very poor week…..I am pulling for this kid, hope he has a great camp and gets a real shot in the Bake.


I don’t have a good read on Bear, since he had a bum hand when I tried to watch him. I suspect he moves up pretty fast though, since he has a different skilset than anyone else on the right side. Bet he is here late into camp.


I’m quite excited to see how Bear does in Bakersfield this year.

I feel like he might struggle early with the speed of the pro game and am hopeful that he gets enough playing time and PP time and isn’t blocked by AHL veterans such as Keegan Lowe, Stanton, etc.