Rock Steady

Lowetide
February 27 2012 02:09PM

The Edmonton Oilers added a solid, veteran NHL defenseman today at the annual deadline. Nick Schultz has been old reliable on the Minnesota blue since the lockout and he's bringing his consistent brand of defense to Alberta's capital.

Nick Schultz is a veteran defenseman, an "actual" NHL player and anyone who follows the Oilers should be thrilled the club was able to add such a dependable hand. The problem? It cost them dearly, as Tom Gilbert is heading the other way in the NHL's biggest "real" deadline deal today.

Schultz offers the Oilers another throwback type: effecitve defender, read and react type, a very good shotblocker. He is moble and can play at evens and on the penalty kill. He does not offer a lot of puck moving ability compared to Gilbert and that appears to be the difference in the trade.

LOOK OUT!

Why would the Oilers trade a complete defender like Tom Gilbert for a stay-at-home type like Schultz? There are only a few possible answers, involving things that we can't really speculate about with any authority. Did Gilbert ask for a trade? I doubt it. What about the Oilers? Were they concerned that Gilbert's long term health was an issue? No idea.

Having said that, the reasons behind the trade are not available to me from the Oilers perspective. The math suggests that Gilbert was Schultz' equal defensively and has substantial offense to spare.

In terms of use, Gilbert was useful in all three aspects of the game and Schultz only two:

  • Gilbert: 17:25EV; 3:16SH; 2:05PP
  • Schultz 16:44EV; 2:23SH; 0:28PP

The Oilers will miss Gilbert's ability to move the puck and his defensive acumen. In Schultz, it looks like the defensive side of the game is covered, but the offense is gone. It's a strange deal based on the numbers

THE FUTURE

This trade tells you one thing for sure: the Edmonton Oilers believe Jeff Petry has arrived and he's going to play busy minutes from now on. I also suspect they believe Ryan Whitney can and will return to good health by the fall, leaving the top 4 defensemen as Whitney, Schultz, Laddy Smid and Petry.

I don't think it's enough. Even with Sutton, Potter, Peckham and a cast of thousands on the way this doesn't look like enough, meaning we should expect a very active summertime for Edmonton. The draft will probably be defense heavy and the free agent/trade news from Oilers HQ will/should also be heavy on the color blue.

BEHIND THE NET SAYS……..Nick Schultz

  • Offensive Zone Start: 41.0 third toughest among Minnesota regulars over 35GP, although he faced the toughest among those who have played over 40 games
  • CorsiRel: -8.7, worst on the team among regulars over 35GP
  • Qual Comp: 5th toughest, although the 3-5 D appear quite close

BEHIND THE NET SAYS……..Tom Gilbert

  • Offensive Zone Start: 50.5,fourth toughest among Edmonton regulars over 35GP
  • CorsiRel: 2.6 third best on the team among regulars over 35GP
  • Qual Comp: 3rd toughest

Basically, it means they face about the same quality of competition, but Schultz' zone start is more punishing and Gilbert's CorsiRel is much better. I don't think there's a huge gap defensively, and will leave it to others to hairsplit the value of the offense.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

In about one half hour from now, Steve Tambellini will address the media. I would expect him to talk about adding grit, toughness, and defensive acumen. I would also expect him to tell us Jeff Petry's development was instrumental in making this trade possible.

The question then becomes how much does this improve the Oilers defensively? And secondly, is this improvement measurable or does it exist at all? The best measurements we have available to us at this time suggest Gilbert is even or slightly ahead of Schultz defensively and clearly superior offensively.

The trade looks like a loss from here, but Nick Schultz is a fine NHL defenseman.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Skidplate
February 27 2012, 05:03PM
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Dman09 wrote:

It wouldn't just be players you would probably have to throw in a 4th or 3rd to make it happen maybe both. Still would have been better than trading Gilbert becuase you will probably never see a 3 or 4th round pick in the NHL. Take a look at what the D would be like if say Peckham and Plante a 3rd and a 4th were traded for Schultz. And if they wanted Tuebert instead of Plante do it.

Dman09, if you are smart enough to realize that a 3rd or 4th round pick will probably never make the NHL, then I would give every NHL GM the same respect.

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#52 Harlie
February 27 2012, 05:17PM
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I remember when Sam Gagner had his concussion and was out for awhile a couple of years back. I nearly ran over him and Gilbert in the parking lot at the Calgary Trail Future Shop.

The lot was icy as hell and I was going slow and watching the doors to make sure no-one was coming out when I should have been looking forward. All of a sudden I see these two guys in black pea coats with big eyes looking at the bumper of my F350 as they kinda froze in front of me, trying to do that eye contact are you seeing us look.

So after noticing them and braking in time not to flatten them I was pretty sure it was Sam and Tom but wasn't hundred percent sure. Once I got in the store and was looking for whatever the heck it was I went there for I noticed them in the Video Game isle picking out games. I thought, man I should go over there and grab NHL 2011 or whatever was the latest then and get them to sign it and give it to my kid. But then I remembered that I nearly ran them over so thought it best to lie low.

I remember laughing to myself that no one noticed who they were or recognized them and Sam was wearing an black toque with Oilers logo! It was mid afternoon on a weekday, but still.

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#53 Brownlee loves the word meow
February 27 2012, 05:25PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Never intended to put Tommy in that #2 category as far as d'men goes. Meant, he was a 2/3 on the Oilers, which we all know is a big difference.

Here's to hoping Nick Shultz is the next Willy Mitchell type blueliner.

meow that def clarifies things. agreed. I do not see Schultz hurting the team although can only base my opinions on what he is described as. Time will tell if he is actually good/decent. As long as we don't see Schultz standing in front of the net after a goal against, confused as to why the man he was supposed to be covering celebrates scoring the goal...I think we will be a happy audience.

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#54 OILERSORDEATH
February 27 2012, 05:31PM
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Love it! All my Minny bro's are soooo pissed! I'm just glad we picked up a little more grit and sand paper on our back end. Leave to Petry and Whits to move the puck.

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#55 bam
February 27 2012, 05:38PM
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How is Schultz "gritty" exactly? He puts up less hits them Tom Gilbert does...

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#56 OILERSORDEATH
February 27 2012, 05:47PM
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Just wait and see for yourself.

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#57 They're $hittie
February 27 2012, 05:51PM
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tsn and sportsnet claiming a win for the oilers on this trade. Will it work out? maybe, maybe not. We have to see. And maybe we traded an offensive dman but can we not just be positive about tsn saying we won. And yes I know that they said this with Kurtis foster last year,

side note and I am asking this question not bashing Gilbert - how many oilers tweeted there feelings about this trade. It seems like a lot of wild players voiced a pretty strong opinion about him leaving.

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#58 Saytalk
February 27 2012, 05:55PM
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I love this trade! Schultz is a shut-down defender we can match up against the opponent's top line. Sure, Gilbert offers more offence, but he's mediocre as a two-way defenceman. I'll gladly take the guy who can execute his role (underrated as it is) over the guy who's on-and-off in a tougher job.

Now can we sign Nick to an extension?

By the way, I love those 2 pictures of Schultz. Why don't we have any pictures of Oiler defencemen playing like that?

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#59 MrCondor
February 27 2012, 06:17PM
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Schultz also has an additional 250 NHL games under his belt. A 24 more playoff games than Gilbert. That's worth something.

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#60 Rocknrolla
February 27 2012, 06:30PM
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The Beaker wrote:

This feels a lot like the Visnovsky for Whitney trade. A lot about it make sense, there seems to be a fit but I wonder if it just doesnt fall flat on its face in a year or two.

Time will tell. I'm willing to wait and see.

Does anyone know why we traded vishnovsky? Leading again in defender scoring. What was so bad about him??

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#61 Colin
February 27 2012, 06:33PM
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Rocknrolla wrote:

Does anyone know why we traded vishnovsky? Leading again in defender scoring. What was so bad about him??

He was all washed up. No good years left you see.

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#62 a lg dubl dubl
February 27 2012, 06:35PM
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@Rocknrolla

Vishnovsky wanted out.

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#63 Wanyes bastard child
February 27 2012, 06:49PM
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Petry playing like he has a boost of confidence after the Gilbert trade, a few nice plays so far high lighted by the take out on Kane.

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#64 BigE91
February 27 2012, 07:09PM
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Rocknrolla wrote:

Does anyone know why we traded vishnovsky? Leading again in defender scoring. What was so bad about him??

??? Not sure if I'm in a time warp here but my computer thingy doesn't have Visnovsky anywhere near the leaders in points by d men. Likely because he has spent a lot of time hurt this year.

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#65 Rocknrolla
February 27 2012, 07:17PM
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@BigE91

Leading in d of what was available today per tsn.

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#66 Bryzarro World
February 27 2012, 07:40PM
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@bam

Fail

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#67 Spydyr
February 27 2012, 08:24PM
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Well at least the Oilers don't have to worry about Gilbert coming back and physically hurting someone.

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#68 Clyde Frog
February 27 2012, 09:18PM
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Meh if he is a character guy like old gator, this could be a decent trade.

I don't mind trading Gilbert's pass for a steady d-man and a guy who can anchor our team character wise.

Although if he really has lost a step and will struggle to play Gilbert's minutes this trade will make a little sad :(

We've spent two years crying at Gilbert's game only to watch it become as solid as we've seen it in years... Not exactly the time I was hoping for him to be traded, but time will tell...

It's not gonna drop us into the basement, so I guess the next 21 games will tell us if we needed a different approach or not.

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#69 Time Travelling Sean
February 27 2012, 09:24PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Thought you were mad at me Sean over the Hemsky thing. Are we all buddie buddie again?

Course, I could never stay mad at you.

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#70 Dan the Man
February 27 2012, 09:34PM
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This trade feels like it was based on perception rather than actual ability. I don't really care for it right now but it can be difficult to predict how a player fits in so I guess I'll wait and hope for the best.

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#71 kdunbar
February 27 2012, 09:59PM
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After listening to Gregor and watching the game today, I now think I see the use of this trade.

When the score is 4-2 and there is 4 minutes left you should not be thinking are they going to blow this one.

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#72 Oilcan
February 27 2012, 10:44PM
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Schultz has an 84 rating in NHL 12 and Gilbert has a rating of 83...WINNING!!!

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#73 Tayranchula
February 27 2012, 11:03PM
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I think this trade was to do with not only giving some veteran stay at home D help we need but to also clear up some cap space. Hemsky fleeced the Oilers a bit with his contract ext. and Gilbert is a 4mil a year D.

I like Petrys game better cause he uses his body infront and on the side boards more than Gilbert. Maybe this summer there will be another Dman coming in. Cause with Barker hopefully gone this is what Im hoping the D will look like

Shultz-Whitney

XXX-Petry

Sutton-Tuebert or Potter or Musil (Schultz's new prodige?)

Still think a player like with Quinceys ability for XXX would be good or will the Oil go after a big fish in FA and actually compete next year?

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#74 Time Travelling Sean
February 27 2012, 11:12PM
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Tayranchula wrote:

I think this trade was to do with not only giving some veteran stay at home D help we need but to also clear up some cap space. Hemsky fleeced the Oilers a bit with his contract ext. and Gilbert is a 4mil a year D.

I like Petrys game better cause he uses his body infront and on the side boards more than Gilbert. Maybe this summer there will be another Dman coming in. Cause with Barker hopefully gone this is what Im hoping the D will look like

Shultz-Whitney

XXX-Petry

Sutton-Tuebert or Potter or Musil (Schultz's new prodige?)

Still think a player like with Quinceys ability for XXX would be good or will the Oil go after a big fish in FA and actually compete next year?

You forgot about Smid. Damn we need some more appreciative fans.

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#75 Oilcan
February 28 2012, 12:07AM
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Tayranchula wrote:

I think this trade was to do with not only giving some veteran stay at home D help we need but to also clear up some cap space. Hemsky fleeced the Oilers a bit with his contract ext. and Gilbert is a 4mil a year D.

I like Petrys game better cause he uses his body infront and on the side boards more than Gilbert. Maybe this summer there will be another Dman coming in. Cause with Barker hopefully gone this is what Im hoping the D will look like

Shultz-Whitney

XXX-Petry

Sutton-Tuebert or Potter or Musil (Schultz's new prodige?)

Still think a player like with Quinceys ability for XXX would be good or will the Oil go after a big fish in FA and actually compete next year?

No Smid?????

I hope the Oilers plan on having Whitney has a third pairing guy or 2nd paring and if he returns to form then we are looking great if he doesn't then he is still an above average third pairing guy.

(Free Agent)-Schultz Smid-Petry Whitney-Potter/Sutton

I can live with that D as long as the dman we bring is solid.

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#76 David S
February 28 2012, 12:29AM
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So I just watched Gilbert's exit video. He was amazingly calm and upbeat for a guy who's been on the team for six years, has craploads of close friends here, just bought a house and has a pretty serious local girlfriend.

Funny how he just happened to be traded to his home town for a another actual NHL'er D-man close to his cap hit.

I'd lay some serious cash he asked for the trade.

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#77 Tayranchula
February 28 2012, 07:52AM
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Never said Smid was bad but he can't do it all by himself. Look at the top teams in the league they have two solid defence first type dman . Chara- Seidenberg , Stuart- Kronwall etc. I like this trade cause I couldn't stand Gilbert.

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#78 bdiddy18
February 28 2012, 08:22AM
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Look at this way - OUR GOALTENDING STINKS and often lets in a bad goal a night.

So with Gilbert - you increase the turnover ratio, you have a D man that pinches and gets trapped often resulting in odd man rushes and goals in your net.

Subtract Gilbert and add Schultz - you get a stay at home defensemen, capable of blocking shots on a regular basis and eliminating the odd man rush giving the goalie less to deal with.

D is definitely a work in progress but at least now in the top 4 you have one offensive guy (Whitney/Petry) paired with one stay at home guy (Smid/Schultz).

This indirectly helps SOG and our Goalie out - where we still need an upgrade and probably wont upgrade until all the other pieces are in place.

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#79 Oilcan
February 28 2012, 09:55AM
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David S wrote:

So I just watched Gilbert's exit video. He was amazingly calm and upbeat for a guy who's been on the team for six years, has craploads of close friends here, just bought a house and has a pretty serious local girlfriend.

Funny how he just happened to be traded to his home town for a another actual NHL'er D-man close to his cap hit.

I'd lay some serious cash he asked for the trade.

So wise...

(I was thinking the same thing as soon as I saw gilbert to Minny on TSN)

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#80 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
February 28 2012, 10:23AM
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Oilcan wrote:

So wise...

(I was thinking the same thing as soon as I saw gilbert to Minny on TSN)

He would not of bought a house if he knew this was coming. He was not expecting it but going home is not a bad thing anytime. If he was going to Van he would of been bawling !!!

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#81 Dog Train
February 28 2012, 01:20PM
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Something had to give. Gilbert had a tremendous start to the season playing with Smid and I would say that he's been average to below average since returning from injury and playing with Sutton or Whitney. Petry started off terribly and turned his game right around the time that they paired him with Smid. To me, Laddy Smid has been our best and most consistent defender all season. Now he doesn't have enough offense to be a true #1 but our D corps obviously has some room to improve. I would like to see what our D looks like going into next season before I am too critical of this deal. Right now, I want our D to look something like this going into next season:

Smid - Petry Whitney - (Addition) Schultz - Potter Sutton, Peckham

Barker is as good as gone because I doubt that we even tender him an offer. I think that we still need at least one right-handed Dman before next season to round it out. Suddenly, have quite a few defensive guys and we need somebody else to move the puck.

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