The Edmonton Oilers are expected to re-sign Tyson Barrie and add another right-handed defenseman in Cody Ceci, so they needed to move out someone else. That player is Ethan Bear, who Darren Dreger of TSN reports is on his way to the Carolina Hurricanes. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the Hurricanes will send Warren Foegele back to Edmonton.
Bear, 24, looked like he would be a long-term pillar of the blueline for the Oilers in 2019-20, but last season took a significant step backward. He scored just two goals and eight points in 43 games while losing the trust of the coaching staff at times. In Carolina, he won’t be asked to do as much given the strong group ahead of him, but can help replace some of the minutes that they are losing in Dougie Hamilton. Bear actually could perhaps slide into the top-four alongside a player like Brady Skjei, but still likely won’t log anywhere near the minutes of Carolina’s top three options.
For the Oilers, adding another bottom-six winger that can score at a strong rate is a win, at least if considered independent from Bear’s potential upside. There’s real talent in the 25-year-old Foegele, who has 50 points in his last 121 games. Edmonton has struggled to find any consistent offense from the third and fourth line over the last number of years, but are starting to lengthen out their lineup behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Even if Zach Hyman ends up playing on one of the top two lines, there appears to be the makings of a legitimate third line finally.
Still, the Oilers will need to sign Foegele as he currently sits as a restricted free agent. He’s coming off a one-year, $2.15MM contract with the Hurricanes, meaning that’s the price of his qualifying offer. That means he’s locked in as a player the Oilers will have to rely on, especially if arbitration results in another raise.