Updated with Schultz, Gilbert quotes
Defenseman Nick Schultz, the Wild's franchise leader in games played with 743, has been traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Bloomington's own Tom Gilbert, a puck-moving, offensive defenseman who used to play at Jefferson.
The Oilers made the announcement via Twitter just as the Wild was leaving the ice from practice. It occurred 20 minutes before the Wild expected them to.
Schultz had not yet been informed by the Wild, but Schultz was informed directly by GM Chuck Fletcher.
Wild players were shocked when I told them Schultz had been traded. Kyle Brodziak, a buddy of Gilbert and former teammate, talked about the loss of Schultz and that friendship but also how good a player Gilbert is.
Cal Clutterbuck literally stopped short in the locker room and was stunned.
"It's shocking," Clutterbuck said, having trouble getting out words. "He's what this organization is all about. Has been for 10 years."
Schultz was shaken.
"I hadn't heard anything until Russo brought it up to me last night actually," Schultz said. "It's always a possibility. I've been here a long time. I've been through a lot of times where my name's come up and nothing's happened. Today it happened, so just kind of deal with it.
"It's been fun. This is a great place to play, great fans, great people. I've had great memories here, great guys on the team. It's tough to go. This is all I know."
He is excited about going to a young, up and coming Oilers' team.
The room was stunned and silent. It's interesting on deadline day. Just the way the timing worked, this is something the media normally doesn't get to witness, so I wouldn't say this reaction was abnormal to the trade of a popular soldier.
Schultz is as popular a player as I've ever covered. Total class act.
"I really enjoyed working with Nick," said coach Mike Yeo. "He's a great player and he's a tremendous person and a great professional. Edmonton, he's going to be a very good fit for them."
Gilbert, 29, has scored 33 goals and 158 points in 384 games. From a hockey trade standpoint, Gilbert is the type of player the Wild has been looking for since trading Brent Burns. More than just the points, the Wild has been having trouble getting out of its zone and going on transition. Gilbert should help in that area.
"That's what we're looking for," Yeo said. "For one, he's got some size with that. When we played against them, he was always on the ice against Mikko. So not only can he make plays, but they had some confidence in what he can do defensively. As much as anything else, we needed to make improvements as far as how our entire group, our back end, how we contribute offensively and as much as anything else, how we contribute from the back end. We believe that he has a lot of that."
Gilbert was very excited to come home. He expects to make his Wild debut against the Kings.
"It's a great thrill for me, and I'm sure my parents are more ecstatic. They probably won't have to watch me on TV as much. I'm sure they're going to get season tickets now. They're pretty happy, too. ... I hope I'm a great fit."
Schultz has two years left on his deal at $3.6 million annually at a $3.5 million cap hit.
Gilbert has two years left on his deal at $3.5 million annually at a $4 million cap hit.
Fletcher will talk to the media after the deadline. I did talk to him for a few minutes by phone and right now things are quiet and he said he's not pushing to do anything else, but we will see if Greg Zanon or Josh Harding or anybody else gets moved.