EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- Nearly a calendar year has passed since a one-for-one swap shook the worlds of Nick Schultz and Tom Gilbert.
The trade was the type rarely seen in the NHL -- two defensemen, the exact same age (29), each with two years left on his contract, making roughly the same money, simply changing locations between Minnesota and Edmonton.
Schultz is from western Canada. Gilbert is a born-and-bred Minnesotan.
That doesn't mean it was a simple adjustment for either.
Schultz, the second-ever draft pick by the Wild in 2000, played the most games (743) in team history. Gilbert, originally a Colorado draft pick, had played only for the Oilers. Walking into a foreign locker room, meeting new teammates and learning new systems aren't always easy when you've known only one thing.
Time has helped that initial jolt subside, but Thursday night when the Wild and Oilers meet for the first time since the Feb. 27, 2012, trade deadline, the emotions will return for both.
"Living in Minnesota for 10 years, it became my life, that was home," said Schultz. "All my kids were born there, my wife and I made great friends away from hockey. I was drafted there, built relationships with the players and the trainers there. Everything that kind of happened to me happened because of the Wild.
"So it's going to be strange seeing that jersey as the opposition."
Rarely does a locker room screech to a silence the way it was that February day when Wild players learned after practice that Schultz was traded.
Roommate Mikko Koivu didn't say a word. Kyle Brodziak yelled, "What?" Cal Clutterbuck literally stopped short for 10 seconds.