Ethan Bear is back, accepting $2.2 million to return to Raleigh and avoid arbitration. This leaves around $1 million in cap space for the Hurricanes to work with and a high-caliber restricted free agent still yet to sign. With the dominoes starting to fall late here in July, Bear avoids his arbitration date on August 8th leaving the Canes with only one arbitration case to fight.
With the Hurricanes adding their 5th right-shot defenseman onto the team to increase their depth in that position, this leaves a lot of questions to be answered. Moving forward, there’s a lot of questions regarding what they do, but for now, Bear is a Hurricane and that is a positive for the team. With Bear under contract, it is one less question mark for the Hurricanes to worry about this summer.
Ethan Bear is another offensive defender to throw onto a rather loaded Hurricanes blueline. After a hot start to last season, Bear had a fight with Covid-19 and really struggled to return to his early season form later in the year. His spot on the top pairing was taken from him and he never really looked like his old self. He also suffered an ankle injury at some point, and he was playing on one leg throughout the latter half of the season.
If the Hurricanes don’t make any more moves, they have quite a large logjam at RD. If the team opt to not make a move this summer, it could be very interesting. Bear has a lot of upside and showed it when he got the chance earlier in the season. He is a human being of pure gold and has a pretty unique story about where his hockey career started. Bear is Cree, and it’s unique to have a native Canadian on the roster.
If the organization does look to ship Bear off, what they could get for him is going to be a major point in the Hurricanes summer. With other players still needing to recieve a deal, and the Hurricanes requiring more money to properly fill in the roster with scratches and alternative players, what happens with Bear is going to be indicative. He’s a good player, but Carolina might not be his team next season