Report: Interested teams now allowed to watch Ethan Bear skate; will try to outbid Canucks

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
6 months ago
Signing Ethan Bear may be a bit harder than originally the Vancouver Canucks might have hoped.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mused about Bear to kick off his “32 Thoughts” column on Wednesday night, noting that the Canucks would like to keep the young defenceman but he has other suitors from around the NHL (including, potentially, the Toronto Maple Leafs).
Here’s what Friedman had to say about Bear on Wednesday:
1. Another possibility for Toronto (and everyone else) is Ethan Bear. There is word tonight that interested teams will now be allowed to watch him skate. He’s based in Kelowna, B.C., and a few are going to take him up on the offer. Vancouver would like to keep him — he’s interested in a return — but the Canucks are cap-tight and there are others who can try to outbid.
It’s easy to see why Bear would be interested in rekindling a partnership that was mutually beneficial last season. The 5’11” right-handed defender flourished after being acquired by the Canucks early on in 2023–24, collecting 16 points while logging an average of 18:32 in 61 games.
But … after acquiring Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames in late November, the Canucks don’t quite have the same amount of space under the salary cap (or the same need for another defender) as other teams around the league.
The Canucks acquired Bear, who turned 26 in July, from the Carolina Hurricanes in October of last year alongside forward Lane Pederson in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round draft pick. Pederson went on to score three points in 11 games with the Canucks before being claimed off waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Edmonton Oilers originally selected Bear in the fifth round (No. 124 overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft. Through parts of five NHL seasons with the Oilers, Hurricanes, and Canucks, the Regina product has racked up 16 goals and 63 points.

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