Minnesota to buy out Gilbert

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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.