Back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Matt Cullen has signed with the Minnesota Wild. At 40 years old, Cullen takes a one-year deal with performance bonuses. Michael Russo was first with the news.
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) August 16, 2017
Matt Cullen Signs with the
Cullen was drafted way back in the second round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He established himself as a consistent 40 point scorer in California before heading off to the Florida Panthers in 2003.
After the 2005 lockout, Cullen signed with the Carolina Hurricanes, winning his first Stanley Cup. That off-season, he signed a four-year contract with the New York Rangers. Cullen only lasted one year in the Big Apple, however, being shipped back to Raleigh to free up cap space. 2007-08, his first year back with the Hurricanes, was the most productive of his career. In 59 games, Cullen scored 49 points.
Stops in Ottawa, Minnesota, and Nashville followed before landing in Pittsburgh during the 2015 off-season. Cullen, rejuvenated on a contending team, recorded 32 points in 82 games, his first full season since 2001. Winning the Stanley Cup, he re-signed with the Penguins on a one-year, $1 million contract.
This past season, Cullen played 72 games in a fourth line center role. He managed to produce at a better rate than the year prior, tallying 31 points. Of course, the Penguins repeated as Cup champions, putting Cullen’s career total at three (2006, 2016, 2017).
Matt Cullen is obviously a short term player. He turns 41 in December, making him the third-oldest player in the league, only behind Jaromir Jagr and Shane Doan, should they return. Although his age suggests otherwise, Cullen is still a valuable member of the lineup. His experience and leadership are obvious, but he can still play. He has recorded back-to-back 31 and 32 point seasons on the Penguins. Cullen is still good in the faceoff dot, winning 51.2% of draws in 2016-17.
Cullen is a great depth add for the Wild. A cheap, short term fourth line center, Cullen will help in the pursuit of a Stanley Cup, which would be the fourth of his career.