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What life without Ethan Bear means for the Vancouver Canucks: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
6 months ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed the outlook for the Canucks’ blueline after the team reportedly fell out of the Ethan Bear sweepstakes.
The show kicked off with the guys recapping Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes, after the Canucks posted one of their better games since the start of November.
“Thoroughly impressive performance,” said Harm. “Throughout the first two periods, the Canucks allowed four even-strength shots against Carolina; a team that basically fires everything they can towards the net. For the Canucks to limit them that much through the first two and close it out in the third, I was really impressed.”
“Let’s talk about Elias Pettersson,” said Quads. “Three points on the four Canucks goals, maybe should have gotten a fourth point with another assist. All of those coming at five-on-five, which we’ve been talking about the most with him. What did you make of his line on the night?”
“Pettersson was dominant,” Harm answered. “It was exactly what we wanted to see from him at even strength. You could see the difference in how commanding of a presence he had when he picked up the puck. Elite players elevate their linemates, and I thought he did that.”
The guys moved on to talk about what a lack of Bear will mean for the Canucks’ defensive group. Harm started off the discussion:
“This would have felt like a bigger blow if the Canucks hadn’t pulled off the trade for Zadorov. It comes down to when Soucy returns and you have four lefties, can one of them successfully play the right side? You have options who have done it before, but it’s an open question whether they can make that transition mid-season.
“The wildcard with Bear is how much does the severity of his injury and significant time missed affect his recovery? We know he’s a net positive; he’s probably a true-talent third-pairing defenceman who can elevate up the lineup in a supporting role if need be, but that’s when he’s healthy and playing at his best. What will it look like when he’s initially returning?”
Quads then asked Harm his thoughts on the notion that the Canucks essentially picked Zadorov over Bear.
“Ultimately it comes down to what style of defenceman you prefer,” replied Harm. “Bear doesn’t have much size; you worry about his down-low defensive play and breaking up the cycle. Zadorov is big, mean, adds physicality, but Bear can move the puck really well. Zadorov has shades of that when he’s moving his feet well and making poised decisions, but that’s not always his game on a night-in, night-out basis. He is probably a safer bet in terms of who’s going to add more value down the stretch and is more of a playoff-style defenceman, especially considering Bear’s injury situation. I don’t have a problem with them ending up with him instead of Bear.
Canucks were reportedly close to signing Bear to a 3-year deal this past offseason, but ultimately decided not to send a qualifying offer to the 26-year-old. Bear is expected to make 1.5 million on a 1-year deal or over 2 million for a 2-year deal, with the Washington Capitals as the current frontrunners to sign.
You can watch the full replay of today’s episode in the video below:
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