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On this day in 2012, the Edmonton Oilers trade Tom Gilbert to the Minnesota Wild for Nick Schultz

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Aleena Aksenchuk
1 month ago
On this day in 2012, the Edmonton Oilers traded Tom Gilbert to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for 10-year veteran Nick Schultz.
It was a one-for-one blueliner swap, and the Oilers market was particularly skeptical about it.
After coming to Alberta in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche in 2004, Gilbert finally had his shot in the big leagues, playing 12 games with the Oilers during the 2006-07 season – the same year that saw Ryan Smyth, Michael Peca, and Chris Pronger all part ways with the team. However, his second year, but official rookie season, saw Gilbert break onto the NHL scene, scoring 13 goals and 33 points.
By 2008-09, the Oilers were beginning to rely heavily on the six-foot-two 210-pound defenceman, even though using his size was never a crucial part of his playing style. Gilbert fought hard on the ice but not with his fists. Instead, he opted to chase down every loose punch and got in front of his opponents to get the puck out of the Oilers’ zone, leading to Gilbert playing nearly 22 minutes per night, the third highest amongst Oilers defencemen.
Edmonton Journal article regarding Oilers trading defenceman Tom Gilbert.
By 2010-11, he averaged almost 25 minutes a night in the absence of Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray. The more time Gilbert spent on the ice, the more minor mistakes were made. Gilbert still slotted six goals and 26 points that season as one of the Oilers’ go-to guys on the backend.
But after 47 games in the 2011-12 campaign, time had run out for Gilbert, and the swap for Schultz was made.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m sure once I get on the plane and realize that my time here is done, it will,” Gilbert told the Edmonton Journal‘s Joanne Ireland. “This is a great bunch of guys… but you move on.”
Gilbert recorded 33 goals and 158 points across 384 games with the Oilers, which would mark the highest points of his career. He spent nearly two years in Minnesota before signing as a free agent with the Florida Panthers in 2013.
On the other hand, Schultz was a solid NHL defenceman who played a shutdown game following nearly a decade with the Wild. However, he wasn’t much of an offensive producer. When he came to Edmonton, the market was on his case to live up to everything they expected him to be and more.
During the 2012-13 campaign, Schultz was a go-to on the penalty kill but was paired up with a younger, faster defenceman, ironically with the same last name, Justin Schultz, at even strength. The two created a sense of balance on the backend for the Oilers despite a reduced 48-game season.
As a veteran in the league, he showed value at the trade deadline in 2014, and the Oilers made their move by trading him to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fifth-round pick in 2014. Schultz scored one goal and 17 points across 128 games for the Oilers.

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