Edmonton Oilers sign WHL winger James Stefan to entry-level contract

Photo credit:CHL.ca
Zach Laing
27 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers have signed 20-year-old winger James Stefan to an entry-level deal, the club announced Thursday.
James, the son of former NHL player Patrik Stefan, stands at 6’0, 185 lbs. and has had a great season with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, scoring 48 goals and 99 points in 64 games.
Stefan had up to eight teams interested in signing him, according to PuckPedia, which was the first to report the player and team were nearing a deal.
Just last week, Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis wrote that Stefan was one of his top-10 Canadian Hockey League free agents to watch:
It can’t be easy being the son of someone labeled as one of the biggest busts in NHL Draft history, but Stefan has a good head on his shoulders. Offense has never been a problem, with the winger set to crack the 50-goal, 100-point club this season. Stefan had a decent showing with Ottawa at the Buffalo Prospect Challenge last summer, showing a nice combination of puck skills, physicality and defensive awareness. I don’t see him being a full-time NHLer but he’s rounded enough to be a potential call-up option.
Stefan’s scoring has him within the top 10 in WHL scoring this season, with his 48 goals being the fifth most in that junior league.
In fact, Stefan has been almost scoring at will throughout his five years in the league, racking up 109 goals and 254 points in 251 games. This, mind you, includes a rookie season in 2019-20, during which he scored just five goals and nine points in 49 games. In his last three years alone, he’s scored 104 goals and 242 points in 196 games.
This year, his Winterhawks are third in the WHL with a 46-15-1 record and two points behind the Prince George Cougars for top spot in the league’s Western Conference. This past September, Stefan attended the Ottawa Senators’ rookie camp.
Oilers fans remember well Patrik Stefan’s missed empty-net goal in January 2007. Holding a 5-4 lead late in a Jan. 4 game, then-Oilers defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron was skating the puck out of the Oilers zone when he coughed it up to Stefan at the blue line.
Stefan skated towards the Oilers’ empty net and, in an attempt to put the puck in the net, saw it jump over his stick. Jarrett Stoll would fire the puck up the ice before Petr Sykora got it to Ryan Smyth, who made a great play on the wall to feed Ales Hemsky, who tied the game late.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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