With the Wild strapped for sal­a­ry-cap space as it looks to re-sign goal­ie De­van Dubnyk and cen­ter Mikael Granlund, vet­er­an Matt Cooke, the old­est skat­er on the team, was placed on waiv­ers Thurs­day for the pur­pose of buy­ing out the fi­nal year of his con­tract.

If Cooke clear waivers, the Wild will owe him two-thirds of his $3 mil­lion sal­a­ry split into $1 mil­lion in­stall­ments the next two seas­ons.

Most im­por­tant­ly, the Wild would be charged only a $500,000 cap hit for Cooke next sea­son as op­posed to $2.5 mil­lion. This would give the Wild rough­ly $12 mil­lion in space this offseason. The Wild would also be on the hook for a $1 mil­lion cap hit in 2016-17.

“In ord­er to give our team more sal­a­ry cap flex­i­bil­i­ty for the up­com­ing sea­son, we need­ed to make this dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion,” General Man­ager Chuck Fletch­er said in a state­ment.

If Cooke clears waiv­ers, he can talk to oth­er teams next week and sign else­where July 1.

The 36-year-old, who signed a three-year, $7.5 mil­lion con­tract in 2013, was lim­it­ed to 29 games this past sea­son because of a hip in­ju­ry and sports her­ni­a sur­ger­y.

In 111 games with the Wild, Cooke scored 14 goals and 38 points and was sus­pend­ed seven games dur­ing the 2014 play­offs for knee­ing Col­o­ra­do’s Tyson Bar­rie.

Dubnyk, who start­ed 38 con­sec­u­tive games for the Wild dur­ing a se­cond half in which the team need­ed to be flaw­less to make the play­offs, has not been re-signed de­spite the fact he can be­gin talk­ing to oth­er teams Thurs­day dur­ing the NHL’s free-a­gent inter­view pe­riod.

Not only is there a large gap be­tween what Dubnyk is seek­ing (north of $5 mil­lion per sea­son on a long-term deal) and what the Wild is look­ing to pay on a three- or four-year deal, but there has been little to no com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the par­ties since they met in Buffalo, N.Y., earli­er this month.

Fletch­er plans to meet face-to-face with Dubnyk on Tues­day in Las Vegas. Dubnyk will be there as a fi­nal­ist for the Ve­zi­na and Masterton tro­phies, and Fletch­er will be there for the GMs meet­ings.

Fletch­er also will meet with Dubnyk’s a­gent, Mike Liut, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thurs­day. The NHL draft is in South Flori­da on June 26 and 27.

Dubnyk, cur­rent­ly on a golf out­ing with oth­er NHLers in Ire­land, gave up 68 goals in 39 regu­lar-sea­son starts for the Wild, won 27 games, had a .936 save per­cent­age and went 15-2-1 on the road. But the Wild seems con­cerned to com­mit long-term af­ter see­ing Dubnyk for only 3½ months and af­ter he fal­tered in the se­cond round of the play­offs.

 

Oth­er goal­ie op­tions

If the Wild doesn’t re-sign Dubnyk, it’ll like­ly be in the mar­ket for a goal­ie be­cause of the strug­gles last sea­son of young­ster Darcy Kuemper and oft-in­jured Ni­klas Backstrom.

San Jose’s Ant­ti Niemi and Cal­ga­ry’s Kari Ramo are free agents.

Goal­ies on the trad­ing block in­clude the Rangers’ Cam Tal­bot, Van­cou­ver’s Eddie Lack, Ot­ta­wa’s Robin Leh­ner and Craig Anderson and Chi­ca­go’s Ant­ti Raanta.

 

U’s Reil­ly nar­rows list

High­ly sought form­er Go­phers defense­man Mike Reil­ly, a Ho­bey Baker fi­nal­ist and the Big Ten De­fen­sive Play­er of the Year who be­came a free a­gent Tues­day, cut down his list to a few teams, be­lieved to be the Wild, Chi­ca­go Black­hawks, Los An­ge­les Kings and Pitts­burgh Penguins. It sounds as if the Wild and Black­hawks, con­sid­ered the ori­gi­nal front-runners, were neck and neck.

He can of­fi­cial­ly sign start­ing July 1.

Reil­ly, whose dad, Mike, is a mi­nor­i­ty investor of the Wild, was ex­pect­ed to talk to the team’s coach­es, in­clud­ing head coach Mike Yeo, this week.

Reil­ly, 21, led all NCAA defense­men and the Go­phers as a whole with 42 points this past sea­son.

 

Granlund up­date

As for Granlund, a re­strict­ed free a­gent who had only 39 points in 68 games, Fletch­er has talked to his a­gent, Todd Diamond, a cou­ple times in the past two weeks about a short-term deal.

“I wouldn’t say we’re way off,” Diamond said. “It’s like a mar­a­thon. The last half-mile is the most dif­fi­cult.”