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Son of former NHL No. 1 overall pick signs with Oilers

NHL: Dallas Stars at Washington Capitals
Credit: Lou Capozzola-USA TODAY Sports

James Stefan is hoping to follow his father’s footsteps to play in the NHL, though the 20-year-old is taking a different path to get there.

Stefan signed a three-year-entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. PuckPedia.com was first to report the signing.

An undrafted free agent, Stefan will make $775,000 at the NHL level, $82,500 in the minors, with a signing bonus of $95,000 and a games played bonus of $80,000.

Stefan’s father, Patrik, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. Though he played 455 games with the Thrashers and Dallas Stars, Patrik Stefan never fulfilled the promise of being the top pick. He scored an NHL career-high 14 goals in 2003-04 and finished with 64 goals and 188 assists in his career, and never played in a single Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Ironically, the Oilers were the opponent during, perhaps, Patrik Stefan’s most embarrassing NHL moment. Stefan famously missed scoring into an empty net for the Stars with the Oilers goalie pulled for an extra attacker in a 2007 game. Edmonton raced the other way and incredibly tied the game. 

Related: Top storylines for final month of 2023-24 NHL regular season

James Stefan hoping to follow father’s footsteps to NHL

James Stefan is not as highly touted as a prospect. He’s a forward like his father and is coming off a 99-point season with Portland of the Western Hockey League. According to the PuckPedia.com report, Stefan had roughly 6-8 teams interested in signing him.

In 251 WHL games over three seasons with Portland, Stefan scored 109 goals and totaled 254 points.

James Stefan was invited to rookie camp with the Ottawa Senators prior to the 2023-24 season before being returned to Portland. His contract with the Oilers begins next season, when he’s expected to play for Bakersfield in the American hockey League.

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