Ethan Bear: 2021-22 By The Numbers
- Age: 24
- NHL Seasons: 4
- Scoring: 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points in 58 games
- Playoff Scoring: DNP
- Advanced Statistics: 56.59 CF%, 55.54 SCF%, 55.51 xGF%, 50 GF%
- Average TOI: 14:35 ES, 0:34 PP, 0:55 SH
- Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent
The Carolina Hurricanes made a move to bolster their right-handed defensemen depth last summer, shipping Warren Foegele to Edmonton in exchange for 24-year-old blue-liner Ethan Bear.
And the first season in Raleigh for Bear was a bit challenging, as a strong start was followed up by a bout with COVID that caused Bear to miss some time and also suffer some longer-term effects.
Eventually, Bear became the odd man out on Carolina’s blue line, with the newcomer from Edmonton the healthy scratch for the Canes in every single playoff game while Brendan Smith and Ian Cole slotted in on the third pairing.
But it certainly wasn’t all bad for Bear this past year. He started the season skating with Jaccob Slavin, and he contributed an assist in Carolina’s opening-night win over the New York Islanders.
Prior to testing positive for COVID on Nov. 22, Bear put up six points in his first 16 games of the season while averaging over 18 minutes of time on ice per game.
But after returning to the ice over two weeks later, Bear went seven games without a point and had a string from early December to early March where he contributed just two points over a 24-game stretch.
He got hot in mid March, scoring two goals with three assists in a nine-game period, but then finished off the regular season with just one point in nine games. From there, Bear’s perspective for the playoffs was from the press box.
All of those numbers are, of course, offensive outputs, not exactly an all-encompassing look at Bear’s production for the Hurricanes.
His possession and advanced metrics were good, with a CF%, xGF%, GF% and SCF% all at or above 50, but none astronomically high. He set career marks in all of those stats but xGF%, but a lot of that is a product of playing Carolina’s system that leads to every single player posting positive advanced metrics.
At times, Bear was really good. He was solid defensively while contributing enough. But he wasn’t super consistent, and he also never really found his footing with the Hurricanes. After a hot start, he was plagued by some streakiness, turnovers and overall lack of umph when on the ice.
It is a bit of shame. He’s a really talented young player who has a ton of upside, but some things out of his control derailed his season early on and he never really seemed to find his way back into it at a consistent rate after that.
Bear is an RFA, and his future with the Hurricanes is obviously up in the air. His qualifying offer will be $2 million, so there’s some uncertainty about that following an unfortunately disappointing season with the Hurricanes.
But if Bear has played his final game with the franchise, he’ll leave knowing he found the back of the net in his final game in a Canes’ sweater.
How would you grade Ethan Bear’s 2021-22 performance?
A - Outstanding Performance
B - Above Average Performance
C - Average Performance
D - Below Average Performance
F - Significantly Below Average Performance