Neil Wilkinson was Minnesota's 2nd pick in the 1986 Entry Draft, 30th overall. He was claimed by San Jose from Minnesota in the dispersal draft on May 30, 1991.
San Jose traded Wilkinson to Chicago as future considerations on July 9, 1992, completing the June 18, 1993 trade for Jimmy Waite. Less than a year later Chicago dealt him to the Winnipeg Jets for the Blackhawks' 3rd-round choice.
He was last involved in an NHL trade on December 28, 1995 when he was sent packing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Norm MacIver.
Wilkinson spent a year with Michigan State in the NCAA in 1986-87, playing in 19 games for the Spartans. The following year he opted to join the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League. In 55 games, he accumulated eleven goals and 21 assists for 32 points and 157 penalty minutes.
After toiling in the minors with Kalamazoo for about a year-and-a-half, Wilkinson was called up to the North Stars and suited up for 36 games in 1989-90, collecting 100 minutes in penalties. The following season he played in 50 games, and was a regular member of the team which made it to the Stanley Cup finals before losing in five games to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 22 playoff games, Wilkinson contributed three goals and three assists.
Being claimed by San Jose in the 1991 dispersal draft gave Wilkinson the opportunity to gain extra ice time. He played 60 and 59 games, respectively in 1991-92 and 1992-93. His best offensive season was in his first year with the Sharks where he collected four goals and 15 assists.
The final four years of Wilkinson's NHL career were played in Pittsburgh, although he dressed in fewer than half of the club's games in each of those years. He retired after the 1998-99 season having played in 460 regular season games, registering 16 goals and 67 assists for 83 points and 813 minutes in penalties.