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The Copper And Blue 2019 Top 25 Under 25: #12 - Ethan Bear

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NHL: SEP 17 Preseason - Oilers at Flames Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Background and History

Ethan Bear was drafted by the Oilers in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Bear, who the Oilers selected 124th overall. Bear played his junior with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds won the WHL championship in Bear’s last season in junior. He had impressive run through the playoffs picking uo 26 points.

Bear has played his last two seasons with the Condors in the AHL but played 18 games with the Oilers in the 2017-2018 season. Bear recorded one goal and three assists during his time with the big club. Bear’s 46 points in 89 AHL games are respectable for a defenseman. He may not be lighting the AHL on fire, but he’s doing quite well.

With Bear, the potential is apparent. He’s a defenseman who seems to understand his role and shoots right. Both good things for the Oilers. Something the organization hasn’t always had a lot of. And the Oilers have allowed Bear to develop his game as a key piece of a successful AHL defense last season, which is a credit to someone in player development.

Why He Made the List

Bear is one of the Oilers best defensive prospects. He had a strong junior career, has been able to make the transition to the pros without losing too much momentum, and he didn’t look any worse than any other rookie during his time with the Oilers in the spring of 2018. He managed to not look too much out of place.

He has continued to develop and may make the Oilers team out of camp. However, he may end up back in the AHL to continue his development. As one of the Oilers top defensive prospects, it only makes sense that he make the list. Last summer, Bear made the list at eighth but that was partly due to his strong performance at the end of 2018. Despite his slightly less impressive season, Bear still did well and ranks fifth among the Oilers defenders under 25 years of age.

On the last year of his ELC, Bear will be looking to crack the Oilers line up at some point this season and prove he is worth keeping on the roster.

Why He Made the List at 12

Bear isn’t the biggest player out there. Listed at 5’11”, Bear seems to be better suited to zipping around and scoring goals. The other consideration for Bear is that he spent the entire year in Bakersfield last year. Other defensive prospects, such as Caleb Jones, spent some time in the Oilers roster last season, but not Bear. While, this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does seem to indicate that the Oilers have targeted other defensive prospects for accelerated development.

At 22, Bear has time to develop. It seems likely he will be a factor in the Top 25 Under 25 for several years to come. And it also seems likely that Bear will be a factor in the Oilers defense for a while yet.