Which member of the Edmonton Oilers — past or present — needs a sports documentary?

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Woz
7 months ago
We are so deep into the Edmonton Oilers off-season that we are now looking at which former or current Oilers could use a sports documentary. Binge-watching documentaries are also one way to pass the time until the puck drops in October..or September if you enjoy pre-season.
For this article, I took suggestions from replies and comments across the Oilersnation Social Media platforms and you all had fantastic ideas. We’ll stick with five players since there were so many to choose from.

Nail Yakupov

When I put out this question on socials, the first player I thought of was Nail Yakupov. It would be interesting to hear Yakupov’s perspective on what went wrong for him at the NHL level hearing how things transpired during his time in Edmonton. Yakupov had a solid rookie year and then once Dallas Eakins became head coach, things seemed to turn for the worse.
Let’s not forget about when Brian Burke mentioned how Yakupov had one of the worst draft interviews he ever experienced and that a scout reportedly almost fought him. Couple that with former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk saying last year how much of an idiot Yakupov was, and it could surely add to the allure of a documentary.
From a young prospect who scored 101 points with the Sarnia Sting in 2010-11 to barely potting 10 goals in the KHL in 2023, the story of Nail Yakupov could be an emotional one to learn as to why his NHL career never took off.

Vincent Desharnais

This one may surprise some, however, Vincent Desharnais’s journey to the NHL is nothing short of inspirational. Drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 NHL draft by the Oilers, Desharnais had to grind through every level of hockey to get to where he is now. From college hockey to the ECHL, then the AHL and finally breaking through into the NHL this year.
Desharnais has also talked about the mental grind. There were many times when he told himself he would never make the NHL and when he learned he was drafted, he was on a boat with his brother outside Montreal which he told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector.
In that interview back in January he mentioned how emotional it was to be drafted, telling Spector: “My mom called me right after and she couldn’t speak on the phone. She was crying. You know, those moments… I was with my two good friends too, and it’s those moments I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Being with the people who supported me throughout my whole career. It’s pretty special.”
Desharnais’s story would truly be motivational and one that could tug at the heartstrings. It would serve as a beautiful reminder to never give up on what you’re passionate about in life and if you persevere, it could lead to everything you could’ve dreamed about.

Kevin Lowe

Love him or hate him, Kevin Lowe has been a major name throughout the history of the Edmonton Oilers. He was the franchise’s first-ever draft pick and then went on to score the organization’s first goal in the National Hockey League helping win numerous Stanley Cups.
One Nation Citizen on Instagram, SteveMalarsky put it perfectly.
“Honestly, Kevin Lowe should be the first name anyone mentions. The guy was the Oilers first ever draft pick, was a seven time all-star and won 5 Cups here (1 more with the Rangers) and won a King Clancy trophy somewhere along the way. After retiring from playing, he returned as an Assistant Coach, then became Head Coach. He later became the GM, Executive-Vice President, and then President of Hockey Ops. He was a member of the management team that built Canada’s gold medal winning. 2002 Olympic team, and the QMJHL has created the Kevin Lowe trophy for the league’s best Defenceman.”
Safe to say, Kevin Lowe would have plenty of stories to tell, especially during the Decade of Darkness, a time when fans’ opinions on the Oilers’ legend soured due to how poorly the organization performed for 10 years.

Ryan Smyth

Did you know if you googled ‘Who is Mr. Oiler?’ Ryan Smyth’s name comes up. If there was one man who defined what it meant to be an Edmonton Oiler it was Smyth.
Ask any Oilers fan who grew up in the 90s and 2000s who their favourite Oiler was growing up and they’ll say, Ryan Smyth. He was the heart and soul of the franchise for nearly 15 years. His time with the Oilers also had its drama when he was traded in 2007, the trade that broke Edmonton’s heart.
Then he returned to the organization in 2011 and had an emotional farewell in his last NHL game in 2014. Emotional would be the word I would use to describe Smyth’s time as an Oiler and how a sports documentary on him would present itself.

The Decade of Darkness

Lastly, the Decade of Darkness. While this isn’t a particular player, it could bring in many familiar faces during the decade in which the Edmonton Oilers drafted first overall four times and missed the playoffs for 10 straight seasons.
To learn and hear more about the decisions behind the organization’s most depressing days would be fascinating. The mishandling of so many top prospects, the firing of GMs and coaches every few years. Ultimately everything that led to the crown jewel that is Connor McDavid.
However, this is a story that should be saved until the Oilers lift the Stanley Cup as it would have the storybook ending it deserves.
Hard to say if anyone would ever touch this idea as the organization itself wouldn’t want to reflect on the past and simply leave it behind, which is likely the safer play as even fans would want to focus on the present and the future.

Wrap Up

There are plenty of Oilers, past and present that could use a sports documentary. Wayne Gretzky is an obvious one however he’s had plenty already documented when it comes to his storied career as the greatest hockey player of all time.
The same can be said about Connor McDavid.
Other names that spring to mind would be Georges Laraque, Evander Kane, Ales Hemsky, Dave Semenko, Leon Draisaitl..the list goes on.

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