Minnesota Wild Place Defenseman Tom Gilbert on Unconditional Waivers


Jan 29, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Tom Gilbert (77) scores a goal on Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason (1) during the first period at the Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that surprises no one, the Minnesota Wild have placed Bloomington, Minnesota native Tom Gilbert on unconditional waivers. This is the first step that will allow the club to use one of their two allowable compliance buyouts.

While the team will be paying him $1 Million for the next two seasons, it does free up $4 Million in cap space. The additional room under the salary cap will hopefully allow them to come to an agreement with unrestricted free agent center Matt Cullen and may also enable them to add another defenseman or two in free agency later this summer.

According to Minnesota Wild beat writer Michael Russo:

"The Wild has already begun making calls on potential replacements. Starting at 11:01 p.m. CT last night, free agents were free to receive calls from other teams.General Manager Chuck Fletcher said after Sunday’s draft that he  expects there could be bargains in free agency because so many players could lose the game of musical chairs with so little money in the system. Fletcher believes  some players may be willing to take two-way contracts (smaller salary in  the minors) or accept pro tryouts.Gilbert, acquired from Edmonton at the trade deadline two seasons  ago for veteran defenseman Nick Schultz, scored three goals and 18  points in 63 games for his hometown Wild.While this is a move that likely would not have occurred if the  Wild didn’t need the cap space, Gilbert did struggle at times last  season. He was minus-11 and had to endure a few healthy scratches and  decreased ice time. Prior to the season, Gilbert and center Kyle Brodziak, who also had a rough season, each  were hit with a type of pneumonia. While neither used the sickness as  an excuse, both players lost a lot of weight and Gilbert himself was  actually hospitalized."

Gilbert is free to sign with any NHL team once free agency opens at 11 a.m. Central Time on Friday.