Matt Cullen delays retirement as Penguins look to re-sign him
Matt Cullen won’t be ending his NHL career following a second Stanley Cup. He’ll be back for a19th season, as he confirmed to the Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari. The only question left is where will he play.
The Pittsburgh Penguins would like him back, as Cullen, who turns 40 in November, told GM Jim Rutherford, but it all comes down to the team's salary cap picture.
Cullen spoke with #pens GM Jim Rutherford; he's hoping it works out in PIT but is respectful to fact that they're right up against cap
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) June 28, 2016
Following the 2014-15 season with the Nashville Predators, Cullen contemplated retirement. But then Rutherford, his old GM in Carolina, called and he eventually signed a one-year deal with the Penguins worth $800,000.
What Rutherford got out of that $800K made it one of the NHL's best values last season.
Cullen led all Penguins players during the regular season in shorthanded ice time (207:57, 2:32/game) and was second on the team with three goals while down a man. His 16 total goals were his most since the 2008-09 season as he played a big role on the team’s fourth line.
Last season, Cullen played all 82 games, only the second time he's done that in his career (2000-01). He also appeared in all 24 playoff games, playing through a fractured toe suffered in the conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rutherford told Molinari that the team currently has about $1 million in cap space, which is fine for Cullen since he’d come cheap. But the Penguins still have others to attempt to re-sign if they choose to — Justin Schultz, Ben Lovejoy — which would mean salary would need to be shed somewhere on the roster.
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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy
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