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Revisiting Oilers Second-Best Trade By Holland: Foegele for Bear

Following a 20-goal season by Warren Foegele, let’s revisit the Ethan Bear deal, the Edmonton Oilers second-best trade by GM Ken Holland.

Back in July of 2021, in an emotional move that stirred both excitement and skepticism among Edmonton Oilers fans, General Manager Ken Holland orchestrated a trade that has proven to be a definitive win for the team. The deal sent polarizing defenseman Ethan Bear packing to the Carolina Hurricanes in return for Warren Foegele. At the time, it was a questionable move considering many thought the Oilers were giving up on a high-end prospect and eventual top-four d-man. Ultimately, it has emerged as one of the standout moves in recent Oilers history.

Bear, a promising defenseman, failed to solidify his presence in Edmonton. After a bad play in the 2020-21 postseason, he was blamed for making a critical mistake and some fans were not kind. The Oilers elected to move on and sent him to the Hurricanes.

He had a small run in Carolina before bouncing around to other teams, ultimately landing with the Washington Capitals. Despite flashes of potential, he struggled to find consistency on the ice, and is currently out of the lineup, having entered the NHL Players Assistance Program.

Warren Foegele Ethan Bear trade

On the flip side, Foegele’s arrival in Edmonton initially raised eyebrows as most Oilers’ fans knew little about him. Known as a strong analytics winger, some might argue he took time to find his stride. However, it didn’t take long for him to establish himself as a reliable depth forward and he came as advertised. This season, he really showcased his value with a career-high 20 goals and 41 points. His work ethic, characterized by relentless forechecking and a penchant for physical play, along with a nice scoring touch, endeared him to teammates and fans.

This deal, a one-for-one, became a clear win for the Oilers. Foegele has become a fan favorite, often underappreciated for how many intangibles he brings to the team.

Can the Oilers Hang Onto Foegele?

Although Foegele’s pending unrestricted free agency presents a challenge for the Oilers’ salary cap management, there’s no denying his impact on the team’s performance. His contributions have turned out to be a vital component of the roster, and he’ll likely play a factor in the team’s postseason success.

Warren Foegele Edmonton Oilers contract extension?

As for where the Foegele trade for Bear ranks, it has to be among the top trades during his tenure. The clear winner is the Mattias Ekholm deal, but Foegele’s arrival might be a close second.

While the departure of Bear may have left some fans lamenting the loss of a fan favorite, the consensus remains clear: the Foegele-Bear swap was a resounding victory for the Oilers. As the team looks ahead to future seasons, there’s optimism that the two sides will get a deal done and that Foegele won’t want to go anywhere. That may be wishful thinking considering he’s earned himself a hefty raise, but the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere.

Next: Oilers Storylines During a Special Night in Arizona

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