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REPORT: Capitals Showed Interest In Hurricanes’ Ethan Bear

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Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals have plenty of depth on the blue line and replaced Justin Schultz and Michal Kempny with Erik Gustafsson and depth options. However, around the draft, they reportedly had their eyes on a Carolina Hurricanes blueliner: Ethan Bear.

Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s “32 Thoughts,” the Capitals showed interest in the 25-year-old around the draft, and Bear also potentially requested a trade over the summer. Bear has yet to dress for a red-hot Carolina team this season, and could potentially land on waivers. Friedman mentioned that along with Washington, the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs were looking at him as well.

“After mentioning it last weekend, a couple of sources indicated there was a trade request last summer. The Hurricanes’ position on this is as follows: they consider Bear a legit NHL defenseman, and, since they don’t have cap issues, won’t eat part of his salary for ‘minimal return,'” Friedman wrote. “It’s possible Bear ends up on waivers to see if anyone claims him, and word is he would go to AHL Chicago just because he wants to play. Vancouver’s shown real interest. Washington did around the draft. It’s believed Toronto’s poked around too. I’m sure there are others, we will see how it ends up.”

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Bear originally went in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft to the Edmonton Oilers. After three seasons in Edmonton, he was dealt to the Hurricanes. He’s a mobile defenseman who can move the puck well and log a lot of ice time. Not only that, but he has shown flashes of offensive prowess and doesn’t shy away from joining the rush. However, he needs to add more to his 5-11 frame, and he needs to work on winning his battles. Through 190 career NHL games, Bear has 13 goals, 34 assists, 230 blocks and 159 hits.

If Bear does go on waivers, it’s hard to imagine the Capitals claiming him now with Gustafsson on board and the team having Matt Irwin as the 7D. Plus, Lucas Johansen, Vincent Iorio, Bobby Nardella, Gabriel Carlsson and more also provide solid support on the backend if there is a need for a call-up or another d-man to draw in down the line.

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