Stonehouse got an invite to the Oilers camp despite the fact he went undrafted by every NHL team this past season and had put up 37 goals and 57 points in 68 games for the Ottawa 67s of the OHL.
Until you look at his size and see that he is 5’1″ and 192 lbs, so he’s much shorter than most NHL players, sort of like a heavier version of ex-Oiler Kailer Yamamoto.
But there’s no doubt that Stonehouse has potential with those numbers. Holland prides himself on finding hidden gems, and from a purely hockey goal-scoring standpoint, this is a good one. Whether this short body can stand the rigours of NHL hockey is another story, but he showed well enough in camp for the Oilers to take a flyer on him. Certainly, an unconventional way to make it to an NHL roster and become a team’s property, but hey whatever works, right?
He plays a power forward game, so the Oilers are obviously hoping he becomes the on-ice version of Theo Fleury minus all the off-ice baggage – or, as the article states, Brad Marchand. Either way, if he turns out to be a copy of either player I’m happy.
Stonehouse’s contract includes a $70K signing bonus for all three seasons with a total AAV of $845,000 ($775K plus the aforementioned signing bonus) with an AHL salary of $82,500.
He showed well in camp but obviously needs more seasoning and at the age of 19 could only be either kept up with the Oilers or returned back to junior, and as with most players his age he’s not NHL ready so the Oilers chose the latter as Stonehouse was one of the mid-round cuts in camp.
Congratulations to Stonehouse, he came to camp with nothing but hopes and dreams and leaves soon after with a contract. That’s a pretty good consolation prize for not making the NHL right off the hop – especially considering that he was passed over by everyone in the 2022 and 2023 NHL drafts.
This contract won’t take effect until Stonehouse grabs a spot in either Edmonton or Bakersfield.
This one comes as less of a surprise than Stonehouse as Akey was the player who came into camp with the highest draft pedigree from the 2023 NHL entry draft, as he was drafted by the Oilers in the second round, so naturally most teams are going to want to sign these players sooner rather than later to ensure they haven’t wasted valuable draft commodity on a guy they don’t sign afterwards so he becomes a free agent.
Akey stood out enough in camp that the Oilers signed him now rather than wait until his calendar date on the reserve list expires – essentially the encyclopedia for when the Oilers have to sign each prospect before they risk losing his rights and he becomes a free agent who can sign with anyone.
The 18-year-old Akey, in conjunction with CHL rules, had to either make the Oilers or be assigned back to junior, so naturally just like with Stonehouse the Oilers were forced to do the latter.
However, coming out of his first camp with a contract already is still a pretty nice accomplishment for the fresh-faced Akey. Hopefully, he goes back to Barrie and sets the OHL on fire, as he’s already put up 47 points in 66 games last season and 1-2-3 in four games with Barrie this season so far.
Per CHL rules he can’t play in the AHL until he’s 20 so Akey has two seasons of junior left for sure.
Per the article, his contract comes with a $95,000 signing bonus plus bonuses for games played. The salary is $859K and with bonuses brings it up to $950K. However, like Stonehouse, this contract doesn’t come into effect until he plays for either the Oilers or the Condors.
Looks at this point like good things are in store for the young man.