Report: Carolina Hurricanes allow RFA defender Ethan Bear to speak with other teams

Defenseman Ethan Bear’s tenure with the Carolina Hurricanes could end after just one season.

According to a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman Monday night, the Hurricanes have given the 24-year-old Bear permission to speak with other teams about a potential contract.

Bear is an RFA and therefore cannot officially sign any offer sheets until free agency opens on July 13, but he and the Hurricanes are reportedly nowhere near agreeing on a new contract just yet. The Canes are still hoping to re-sign Bear, Friedman added.

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Carolina acquired Bear on July 28 from the Edmonton Oilers in a straight trade for hitting forward Warren Foegele. Bear showed promise early in 2021-22 as he played on team best pairing with Jaccob Slavin, but Bear missed time with COVID-19 in November and never found his stride at his return. He finished with five goals and 14 points in 58 games. He averaged 18:18 of ice time before the absence and only 15:15 after. Bear was healthy for both rounds and 14 games of Carolina’s 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, when he was healthy and playing a bigger role with the Oilers, Bear showed a lot of potential. He was an above average two-way game driver in Edmonton and finished 10e when voting for the Calder Trophy for 2019-20. Given that he is right-handed, many teams will be interested in him as a recovery project.

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