Canucks Fill Massive Hole With Bear, Pederson Trade

The Vancouver Canucks made their second trade in less than 24 hours on Friday as they announced the acquisition of Ethan Bear and Lane Pederson from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick. As part of the deal, the Hurricanes will retain $400,000 of Bear’s $2.2 million cap hit. Here is a look at why Canuck fans should be excited about the deal as they finally find the puck-moving, right-shot defenceman they have coveted for so long.

Ethan Bear Scouting Report

Bear’s best asset is his puck-moving ability. He understands how to get the puck out of his own zone and has improved when it comes to giveaways as his career has progressed. The 25-year-old has also shown some strong play in the offensive zone, as he has 47 points in 190 games. While his game still needs to round out, he fills a hole the Canucks have been trying to fill for years and should see top-four ice time regularly through the season.

Ethan Bear Carolina Hurricanes
Ethan Bear with the Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Before his NHL playing days, Bear was a stud defenceman for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he posted 66 goals and 192 points in 264 games. He also was named WHL Defenceman of the Year in 2017 and helped Seattle clinch a berth in the Memorial Cup. After being drafted by the Oilers in 2015, he made his NHL debut on Mar. 1, 2018, and collected his first career point four games later against the New York Islanders. After three seasons in Edmonton, he was traded to the Hurricanes in the summer of 2021 before making his way to Vancouver.

Related: NHL Rumors: Hurricanes, Kings, Blackhawks, Oilers

One concerning point about Bear is that he did not play for the Hurricanes this season. This was not injury related but rather based on coaching decisions. Unfortunately, he didn’t fit their game plan, which made him expendable. And it can be traced back to last season as well, when he only suited up for 58 games and was a healthy scratch during the playoffs. Having not played since the preseason, there will be questions on whether or not he will be game ready. But luckily, the Canucks have three days off after their Friday night matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins to get him up to speed and ready to jump in the lineup as early as Tuesday versus the New Jersey Devils.

The question that needs to be asked now is, where does Bear play in the lineup? If the Canucks defence is healthy, they could roll out a defence core that looks something like this:

  • Quinn Hughes- Luke Schenn
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson- Ethan Bear
  • Jack Rathbone- Tyler Myers

Bear provides the Canucks with options to mix up their defensive pairings and allows them to spread out Tyler Myers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Additionally, he can be used on the power play allowing for a different look with a right-hander at the point compared to always having left-handers there. In short, his addition to the lineup gives Vancouver more options and will hopefully help balance out some of the ice time on the right side.

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Lane Pederson Addition

The other part of the trade involved the Canucks acquiring Pederson. A former teammate of Bear’s with the Thunderbirds during the 2014-15 season, he has played 44 NHL games over the past two seasons, recording one goal and four assists. He has spent most of his career in the American Hockey League (AHL), where he has played in 209 games and collected 142 points.

Related: Canucks Hoping Studnicka Can Become NHL Regular After Trade

The Pederson inclusion has to do with the Canucks increasing their forward depth while also allowing the Carolina Hurricanes to gain an extra contract spot. He will require waivers to get sent down to the AHL despite already clearing them earlier this season. Look for him to get placed on waivers and called up if injuries occur later in the season.

Canucks Make a Strong Trade

In the end, this is a great trade for Vancouver. Not only do they get a right-shot defenceman with a ton of upside, but they also acquire a depth piece for just a fifth-rounder. Then, the cherry on top is that Carolina retains some salary, allowing the Canucks to have a little room in case they want to make another addition. While it is still early, it is safe to say that Vancouver should be applauded for making this trade.

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