California Rubber

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Laguna Beach native Stefan dominating WHL ranks, signs NHL contract with Oilers


The WHL’s Portland Winterhawks have announced that forward James Stefan has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

The Laguna Beach native put pen to paper with the Oilers as a free agent last week after playing five seasons in the WHL. Before beginning his professional career, Stefan will remain with the Winterhawks through the remainder of the 2023-24 season and will participate in the 2024 WHL playoffs.

Stefan, 20, is enjoying an impressive final season with Portland, leading the team with 48 goals in 64 games and amassing a career-best 99 points thus far. His 48 goals rank ninth in the Canadian Hockey League this season and he became the 21st Winterhawk all-time to surpass 250 career WHL points earlier this month. Stefan is also tied for the franchise lead with four overtime-winning goals.

The 6-foot-0, 185-pound winger has dominated during his time in Portland and has produced at over a point-per-game pace. His 254 career points are the third-most in Winterhawks history among U.S.-born skaters.

The former Little Caesars AAA standout in the Detroit area originally signed with Portland in Nov. 2018 following his first Winterhawks Neely Cup training camp and broke into the league as a 16-year-old during the 2019-20 season.

Photo/Portland Winterhawks

(March 24, 2024)

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