The Minnesota Wild is expected to make changes this summer, especially with the arrival of new general manager Paul Fenton, and one significant move took place on Saturday, a day prior to the kick off of the free agency season.
The Wild has decided to create more cap space to maneuver by placing winger Tyler Ennis on unconditional waivers to buy out his contract, according to team insider and The Athletic's Michael Russo.
Ennis is under contract for one more season; he’s due to make $3.65 million, but his five-year, $23 million deal carries a $4.6 million cap hit. According to the information provided by Cap Friendly, the Wild will now have to pay out two-thirds of his remaining contract over two years. Ennis would receive approximately $1.2 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20. His cap hit would drop to about $2.2 million for next season, freeing up around $2.4 million in additional cap space.
Currently, the Wild is almost $10.6 million below the $79.5 million ceiling, according once again to Cap Friendly. If Ennis clears the waiver wire and the buyout is completed, the team's available cap space will jump to approximately $13 million.
It hasn't been the career it was expected to be for the former first rounder. Last year, Minnesota landed Ennis and gritty forward Marcus Foligno, along with a third-round draft pick, from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Marco Scandella, winger Jason Pominville and a fourth-rounder. With the major trade, the Wild was able to have better flexibility to re-sign forwards Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.
Foligno did manage to impress the team, while Ennis seems to have struggled to find his place on the roster. He tallied just eight goals and finished with 22 points in 73 games and was a healthy scratch at times.
He took part in just one postseason game, right after veteran star forward Zach Parise suffered a fractured sternum, but the experiment did not prove profitable for the Wild.
Over a career that began back in 2009-10, Ennis has recorded 105 goals and 153 assists in a total of 492 games. He was originally drafted by the Sabres in the first round, 16th overall during the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.