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Updated: February 27th, 2012 11:24am
Wild trade Nick Schultz to Oilers, lose Brad Staubitz on waivers

Wild trade Nick Schultz to Oilers, lose Brad Staubitz on waivers

by Tom Pelissero
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As expected, the Minnesota Wild became sellers at the NHL trade deadline.

On Monday, that approach ended the run of the longest-tenured player in franchise history.

Three days after dealing Marek Zidlicky to New Jersey for a package of players and picks, the Wild traded assistant captain Nick Schultz to the Edmonton Oilers for fellow defenseman Tom Gilbert.

"It's extremely hard," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said Monday on a conference call when asked about the difficulties of giving up a veteran like Schultz. "I think there have been a lot of people singing his praises today and rightfully so. It was a hard conversation."

"This was a hockey trade. This wasn't a salary dump or trading a player we didn't value. It was a trade where you're trading a good player for a good player. It's always difficult ... It wasn't an easy price. Let's put it that way. "

Schultz, 29, had spent his entire career with the Wild. He made his NHL debut in 2001 and has 26 goals, 102 assists and a plus-eight rating in 743 career games.

Gilbert, 29, is a Bloomington native and former University of Wisconsin standout who has 33 goals, 125 assists and a minus-29 rating in 384 games over parts of six seasons with Edmonton.

"Tom is a strong puck mover and certainly has the ability to contribute offensively, but I feel he has a very solid two-way game ... "He's a guy that can play in any situation," Fletcher said. "It's a trade that probably benefits both clubs in terms of players they have on their teams."

Fletcher said discussions with Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini about a possible trade began escalating a couple of days ago. Fletcher originally tried to avoid having to part ways with the valued Schultz, but he was the key cog in the deal that Tambellini sought.

"I can tell you one thing, there would have been a lot of pieces I would have rather moved besides Nick Schultz," Fletcher said. "But Steve Tambellini knows the league and knows the players. It wasn't an easy price. Let's put it that way."

The Wild lost another veteran on re-entry waivers to the Montreal Canadiens, the Star Tribune reported.

Staubitz, 27, was sent to the minors earlier this month. He had no points and a minus-7 rating in 43 games with the Wild this season.

The trade deadline passed at 2 p.m. Monday.

-- Nate Sandell contributed

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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