Penguins Add More Forward Depth By Signing Matt Cullen

(John Russell/NHLI)

(John Russell/NHLI)

Veteran forward Matt Cullen and Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford are back working together again. The Pittsburgh Penguins signed Cullen, the former Carolina Hurricane, to a one-year, $800,000 contract. The 38-year-old is expected to be the team’s fourth line center, which is a perfect role for him at his age. Cullen notched 7 goals and 18 assists in 62 games last season with the Nashville Predators. Many people will frown upon this move based on Cullen’s age, but he actually can skate pretty well for his age and is great in the faceoff circle. In the last two seasons, Cullen has won at least 54% of his draws. In addition, he has been labeled as a great teammate and leader in the locker room. With good possession numbers last year, he should fit in nicely with the new look Penguins in his final NHL season.

Pittsburgh’s top 12 forwards will most likely look like this (barring a trade): Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, David Perron, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Eric Fehr, Nick Bonino, Sergei Plotnikov, Beau Bennett and Cullen. The wild cards to begin the season are Fehr (injury) and Plotnikov, who will need to show he can make the transition to play in the NHL. Obviously, the Cullen signing isn’t good news for the likes of Scott Wilson, Bobby Farnham, Conor Sheary and Oskar Sundqvist. Many had Sundqvist penciled in as the fourth line center before Cullen signed, but spending some time in the AHL will be beneficial to the prospect.