After just 63 regular-season and five playoff games, Tom Gilbert is done in Minnesota.
On Wednesday, the Wild announced they were waiving the veteran defenseman for the purpose of buying out his contract — a six-year, $24 million deal that expires at the end of the 2013-14 season.
“Due to the NHL salary cap decreasing this season, we needed to make this difficult decision to give the team more flexibility,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said in a statement. “We thank Tom for his time with the Wild and wish him the best going forward.”
The Wild will get $4 million in cap relief with the buyout, and pay the remainder of Gilbert’s salary — $3 million — over the course of the next two seasons.
Minnesota acquired Gilbert from Edmonton in 2012, in exchange for Nick Schultz.
The 30-year-old Minnesota native logged a heavy workload at first with the Wild — averaging over 27 minutes per game during the 2011-12 season — but became less of a factor after Ryan Suter was signed last summer and Jonas Brodin emerged as the club’s No. 2 defenseman.
Last year, Gilbert averaged just 19:19 TOI per game and finished with a minus-11 rating.
Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.
Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.
You can also see it up close via this GIF:
Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:
At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.
Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.
The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.
So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.
You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.
Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.
Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.
The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.
This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.
From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.
“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”
Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.
At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.
Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?
We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.
Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.
Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
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Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks
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