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Former Oilers defenceman practicing with another team while still unsigned

Published December 20, 2023 at 9:59
In a strange situation that's been developing today, Ethan Bear has taken a big step towards making his return to the NHL - but it's under suspicious circumstances. According to the Washington Capitals, Bear will begin practicing with the team, but remains a free agent.

Practicing with the team this late into the season as a free agent is strange in its own right, and the Capitals may be bending the rules slightly, but the team has been expected to sign Bear for several weeks now.

With the holiday roster freeze taking effect yesterday, all teams in the NHL are restricted from making any transactions until after Christmas, and the Capitals will need to make a significant move before officially signing Bear. The team currently has almost no cap space, and Bear is commanding a contract of around $2M. Soon after the roster freeze, it's likely that the Capitals will have to make a trade to free salary, especially now with Bear practicing with the team.

Bear, now 26 years old, was drafted in the fifth round by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015. He played parts of three seasons with the team before being traded to Carolina for Warren Foegele, and again later to the Vancouver Canucks. In 251 career games, Bear has recorded 63 points, and has carved out a nice role for himself as a top-six defender with a positive analytical profile. Hopefully Bear has success in Washington, and the Capitals' signing turns out to be a savvy one.
December 20   |   594 answers
Former Oilers defenceman practicing with another team while still unsigned

Is Ethan Bear a good NHL defenceman?

Yes, he's awesome6911.6 %
He's alright25242.4 %
He's not great, but can play in a pinch17429.3 %
He's not NHL quality9916.7 %
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