EDMONTON, AB - Defenceman Ethan Bear has 18 National Hockey League games under his belt but the Oilers prospect is remaining modest at this year's Rookie Camp.
The Ochapowace, SK, product doesn't consider himself a full-fledged NHLer despite ending his season in Edmonton with the big club. Bear did say that experience helped him gain a better understanding of what area of his game he needed to improve over the summer.
"It affected a lot of that," Bear said in the Oilers Hall of Fame Room following Thursday's medicals and fitness testing. "It showed me how hard I had to work, what I had to improve on strength-wise and conditioning-wise as well.
"Looking at those games and seeing what I had to improve on helps me get a little bit more comfortable here and settles myself in."
Video: CAMP RAW | Ethan Bear 09.06.18
The 21-year-old mustered one goal and four points in his 18-game stint, averaging 18:38 a night. Bear finished with a minus-11 rating.
"Throughout the summer after watching clips of my play, I wanted to sharpen up the defence a little bit," Bear said. "Closing gaps, reading a player's speed, limiting their time and space. Trying to make sure I'm on them all the time and not giving them that time to make plays."
And although he's entering his fourth Oilers Rookie Camp - Bear, who keeps his first NHL goal puck safely stored at home - has lots left to accomplish.
"I wouldn't consider myself an NHL player yet," he said. "I want to solidify myself and actually make the team.
"I still have a lot of work to do and I'm not quite there yet."