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Oilers Trade Ethan Bear to Hurricanes, Expected to Sign Cody Ceci

The right side of the Edmonton Oilers defense will have a bit of a different look next season after a couple of potentially risky moves made by Oilers GM Ken Holland today.
Cody Ceci

Who said the COVID-19 pandemic was putting on a damper on the prices UFAs could command?

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the Edmonton Oilers are expected to ink veteran blueliner Cody Ceci to a four-year contract worth “north of $3 million” when the free-agency period officially opens.

 including expected goals (48.67 percent). The 27-year-old from Ottawa has played eight NHL seasons to date, amassing 37 goals and 143 points in 549 career games. Ceci stands at 6-foot-2 and tips the scales at 210 pounds, and so brings some size to a D-corps still reeling from the loss of Adam Larsson earlier this off-season. Unfortunately for the Oilers, Ceci's stature may be the only way in which he truly compares to the departing Swede. 

Though neither D-man brings much offense to the table, Ceci doesn’t have the snarl that defines Larsson’s game and isn’t as much of a defensive stalwart. Ceci had four goals and 17 points this past season for the Pittsburgh Penguins but was the beneficiary of significant on-ice shooting luck (both in his own end and in the attacking zone). Ceci was a plus-18 on the year but was in the red in most 5-on-5 possession metrics – including expected goals (48.67 percent).

The Ceci signing – coupled with the earlier re-signing of Tyson Barrie – meant something had to give on the right side of the Oilers blueline. Barrie, Larsson and Ethan Bear patrolled that part of the ice this past season, but with top prospect Evan Bouchard also itching for a spot, a body had to be shipped out to make room.

In a corresponding move, the Oilers shipped Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for left winger Warren Foegele.

Bear – limited to 43 games because of a suspected concussion – struggled to maintain his heady rookie-season play this past season, scoring two goals and eight points for the Oilers. He was also on the wrong end of a couple of costly – and loud –turnovers, including during the playoffs. But Bear's underlying possession numbers paint a much more flattering picture of the 24-year-old rearguard, who finished 10th in Calder voting in 2019-20. 

Bear should thrive in Carolina's system. Foegele is coming off a 10-goal, 20-point season with the Hurricanes. The six-foot-2, 198-pounder is 25 years old and should provide the Oilers with some help on the left wing, a spot that has been sorely lacking in depth the past several seasons in the City of Champions. In the past two seasons, Foegele has played to a 16-goal, 34-point full-season pace.

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