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Oilers vs. Canucks: Bear Activated from Injured Reserve, Smith Starts

Ethan Bear will be returning to the Edmonton Oilers lineup tonight as they take on the Vancouver Canucks.

Ethan Bear Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers got some good news on Thursday as defenseman Ethan Bear was activated off injured reserve and will suit up for the Oilers as they take on the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night. Speculation is that Bear will play second or third pairing minutes.

Related: Edmonton Oilers May Plan NHL Expansion Draft Around Puljujarvi

The Oilers are quickly moving up the North Division standings and getting Bear back is only going to be more welcome news for a team that is on a roll, have won their last four and are 10-2 in their last 12 games.

Bear hasn’t played since January with a head injury. He was struck with the puck (while sitting on the bench) and has been on injured reserve for the last three weeks. Today, the Oilers activated him and the word is he’ll slot in against Vancouver.

Ease Him Back In on Night One, Or Let Him Loose?

Bear, 23, has had a bit of a rough season to date. After coming on strong during the 2019-20 campaign and securing a spot in the Oilers top four — 21 points in 71 games and finishing tenth in the Calder Trophy voting — he’s struggled with consistency, been a healthy scratch and was then out with an injury. He’ll look to get back on track tonight and keep his spot on a team that has a ton of blue line talent bubbling to the surface.

Ethan Bear Edmonton Oilers
Ethan Bear Edmonton Oilers

He averages more than 20 minutes a night, so this return shouldn’t be taken lightly. He’ll have to work to cut down on the goals against, but the Oilers are leading the league in points from defensemen and he’ll add another weapon to that arsenal.

Other Games Notes:

In a corresponding move, the Oilers have placed William Lagesson on injured reserve.

Mike Smith will also get the start tonight. He let is a soft one to start the last game and two others went in by no fault of his own. Speculation was he was extremely vocal in between periods the last game. He shut things down on his end and the Oilers came out and dominated the third period to score four unanswered goals. He gets the nod again tonight.

Next: Skinner’s Agent Has Long Chat with Sabres GM About Place on Team

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