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Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Agent for pending RFA defender Ethan Bear makes initial contact with Canucks

Ethan Bear’s agent has made initial contact with the Vancouver Canucks to discuss a potential fit with the 25-year-old right-handed defenceman, according to a report by Rick Dhaliwal.

On Monday’s episode of Donnie & Dhali – The Team on CHEK TV, Dhaliwal said the Canucks have had early discussions with Bear’s camp. Last week, Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman reported that the Carolina Hurricanes have granted the pending RFA defender permission to speak with interested teams.

“The agent of Carolina defenceman Ethan Bear has permission from the Hurricanes to talk with teams about Bear,” Dhaliwal said. “Early contact has been made between the agent and the Vancouver Canucks, but it’s way too early to tell where this goes.”

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Bear played just 58 games for the Hurricanes last season, picking up 14 points while averaging a career-low 16:05 per night. During the 2021 off-season, the Hurricanes acquired Bear from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Warren Foegele.

In Edmonton, Bear played in a top-four role and made a positive impact at both ends of the ice. He averaged 21:58 and racked up 21 points in 71 games with the Oilers in 2019–20.

Bear is set to become a restricted free agent this summer after his current contract expires. He’s due a one-year qualifying offer worth $2 million, although he could always agree to a deal with different terms.

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It’s no secret that the Canucks are in desperate need of quality right-handed defensive depth, but their cap situation leaves them with limited room to address that area. It’s also hard to imagine them being the only team interested in Bear’s services, meaning any bidding war victory might have to involve offloading some bad contracts.

The Canucks currently have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tyler Myers soaking up more than $13 million going into next season, while Tucker Poolman’s $2.5 million AAV over the next three years represents a major obstacle that could prevent the Canucks from paying another defender.

That said, Vancouver has had quite a few recruiting wins of late with the likes of Andrey Kuzmenko, Filip Johansson, and Nils Aman. With a bit of good fortune and smart maneuvering, Canucks GM Patrik Allvin could potentially make Bear his next major acquisition.

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