6 things to know about Edmonton Oilers free agent signing James Stefan

Everything Edmonton Oilers fans want to know about undrafted free agent signing James Stefan, who is the son of a former NHL player.

Portland Winterhawks at Kelowna Rockets
Portland Winterhawks at Kelowna Rockets / Marissa Baecker/GettyImages

After much speculation, on Thursday the Edmonton Oilers officially confirmed the signing of James Stefan. He was surprisingly not drafted in 2022 or 2023, but this should only make him even more determined to succeed, with the Oilers potentially being the beneficiaries.

In terms of the basics, Stefan stands at 6 foot and 186 pounds. Here are six things to know about the Oilers' latest addition to the organisation:

1) If the surname sounds familiar, it's because the 20-year-old is the son of Patrik Stefan, who was selected first overall by the then Atlanta Thrashers in the 1999 draft. Despite subsequently being labelled a draft bust, the centre did manage to last six seasons in Atlanta and one in Dallas, totalling 188 points in 455 games.

2) Stefan burst onto the scene in 2018-19, with Little Caesars 15U AAA hockey club. In 71 games, he managed 49 goals and 46 assists for 95 total points.

3) Stefan struggled to build on this early success, with underpar seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21 for the WHL's Portland Winterhawks and Lincoln Stars of the USHL. In fairness to him he was compromised by COVID-19, but the end result was that it impacted his original draft year of 2021.

4) It is a measure of the winger's mental fortitude that since then, he has been extremely productive in Portland. In 2021-22 and 2022-23 combined, he scored 56 goals and added 87 assists for 143 total points in 132 games.

5) Stefan is easily having the best season of his career to date in 2023-24. Still with three games remaining in the WHL regular season at the time of posting, he already has career highs of 48 goals, 51 assists, 99 total points and a +47 rating with the Winterhawks.

6) The Laguna Beach, California native also stands out on a league-wide basis, ranking fifth in the WHL in goals, ninth in total points and fourth with his +/- rating. As per chl.ca/whl, he's also third with five short-handed goals, tied-third with nine game-winning goals and fourth with eight insurance goals.

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Financial terms of Stefan's contract with the Oilers had not been confirmed at the time of writing, but we do know the deal is for three years starting next season, and he will become a restricted free agent in 2027. Of note, as per the Oilers, he was invited to attend Rookie Camp with the Ottawa Senators this past September.

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