The Wild hasn’t made any splashy additions to its roster yet this offseason, but the team did make a move Saturday to create more cap space to maneuver by placing winger Tyler Ennis on unconditional waivers to buy out his contract, sources said.
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.
By buying out Ennis, the Wild would 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 to capfriendly.com. If Ennis clears waivers and the Wild executes the buyout, that cushion will jump to approximately $13 million.
Should Ennis indeed exit the organization via a cost-saving move, it’d be the same way he arrived.
Last summer, the Wild acquired Ennis and rugged winger Marcus Foligno, along with a third-round draft pick, from the Sabres in exchange for defenseman Marco Scandella, winger Jason Pominville and a fourth-rounder – a trade that gave the Wild more flexibility to re-sign forwards Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.
While Foligno went on to carve out a niche on the fourth line, particularly in the playoffs, Ennis struggled to assimilate. He managed just eight goals and finished with 22 points in 73 games and was a healthy scratch at times. The 28-year-old appeared in just one playoff game, debuting after winger Zach Parise suffered a fractured sternum.