It might have been really easy for Matt Cullen to hang up the ol' hockey skates, but the 40-year old, despite being a part of back-to-back Stanley Cup winning teams in Pittsburgh... isn't done yet. Cullen, 40, will return to Minnesota to play for the Wild once again and continue on his career for at least one more season.
Cullen and the Wild agreed on a 1-year deal, which carries a $1 million salary and since it's a 35+ deal, it also carries upwards of $700,000 in bonuses.
The veteran forward should be a very good addition to this team, from a leadership perspective, already joining a team with the likes of Mikko Koivu, Eric Staal and Zach Parise. which will be a huge benefit to the kids, like Joel Eriksson Ek and maybe Luke Kunin as well.
Last season with the Penguins, Cullen appeared in 72 games, scored 13 goals and 31 points and was still a serviceable player for a hockey pool team at 189th among all forwards. This season, he may not be quite as productive, given his age and the comparison of offenses between Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Still, at the cost of this deal, it's a pretty good one for the Wild.
|Joel Eriksson Ek||F||45||Y|
With the addition of Cullen to the Wild lineup, that likely means one of the younger, less experienced players gets taken down a notch and there could be a definite rotation of players in the bottom six, dropping Luke Kunin into the rotation, pending his camp performance. Cullen is just outside the worthiness projections early on, but he'll definitely be a player to keep an eye on, as mid-season injuries could stack up and you may need help from somewhere.
With Cullen now under contract and inserted into the projected 23-man lineup, I am showing the Wild with only about $1.6 million in unused space. They still have a restricted free agent in Marcus Foligno to sign, but with Cullen now in tow, the absolute need for Foligno in the lineup is lessened and the Wild's negotiation platform is that much more solid.