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Report: Minnesota informs former Sabres sniper Vanek he will be bought out

Thomas Vanek and Minnesota longed for a reunion. It wasn’t nearly as fruitful as they’d hoped, and it’s about to be over.

The Wild have informed Vanek he will be bought out, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Friday. The former Buffalo Sabres sniper had one season left on a three-year deal that paid $19.5 million. Rather than collect $7.5 million in salary for 2016-17, Vanek will get $5 million with the buyout.

There are huge salary cap savings for the Wild. Vanek will count at $1.5 million this season rather than $6.5 million. There will be an additional $2.5 million hit to the Wild's cap in 2017-18.

Vanek starred for the University of Minnesota and became a local folk hero by leading the school to the NCAA championship in 2003. The Sabres drafted him fifth overall that year, and he topped 20 goals in eight seasons with the club, including 43 in 2006-07.

Following trades to the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens during the 2013-14 season, Vanek signed his three-year deal with the Wild. He recorded 21 goals and 52 points during his first season but slumped to 18 goals and 41 points in 74 games this year. He was scratched several times.

The 32-year-old left winger will join the list of unrestricted free agents once the buyout is complete.

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