June 18, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Wild have placed veteran left wing Matt Cooke on waivers, for the purpose of granting him his unconditional release.

The Wild announced Thursday they will buy out the final season of Cooke's contract, provided his clearance through waivers. He will become an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any team except Minnesota. The 36-year-old was set to make $3 million in 2015-16.

General manager Chuck Fletcher, in a statement from the team, said the move was a ''difficult decision'' driven by the desire for more flexibility under the salary cap.

Cooke missed two-thirds of the regular season, due to a hip injury and later sports hernia surgery. In 111 games with the Wild, he had 14 goals and 24 assists.

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