The Minnesota Wild will buy out the final year of Thomas Vanek’s contract.
I just got off the phone with Thomas Vanek, and he has confirmed that the #mnwild is buying him out
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) June 24, 2016
Vanek signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract prior to the 2014-2015 season. The contract carried an average annual value of $6.5 million, but Vanek was set to receive $7.5 million in salary this season.
“In order to give our team more salary cap flexibility we needed to make this difficult decision,” Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “We thank Thomas for his time with the Minnesota Wild and wish him the best going forward.”
Vanek, 32, scored 18 goals and 41 points in 74 games this past season.
Buying out the final year of the contract will free up $5 million of cap space for the Wild this season. According to GeneralFanager’s buyout calculator, the buyout will result in a $1.5 million cap hit in the 2016-2017 season and a $2.5 million cap hit in the 2017-2018 season.
This move is not surprising, as the streaky forward found himself in the press box on a frequent basis down the stretch. He struggled to maintain his reputation as a scoring winger during his time in Minnesota, scoring 21 goals and 18 goals in the past two seasons, respectively.
Vanek has 316 goals and 649 points in 817 career regular-season games with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild. He has 20 goals and 34 points in 63 career playoff games with the Sabres, Canadiens and Wild. He will now hit free agency July 1.
Featured Image Credit: Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald