Matt Cullen will play a 21st season in the NHL but it won’t be in Minnesota.
Cullen, a native of Virginia, Minn., reportedly signed a one-year, $650,000 contract to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday as NHL free agency opened. That ended Cullen’s second stint with the Wild and means he will be back in Pittsburgh after a one-season absence.
The 41-year-old center helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2016 and 2017 before signing a one-year contract with the Wild last summer. Cullen had thought of retiring and the assumption was that once he was done playing in his home state that his career would be finished.
Cullen had 11 goals and 11 assists in 79 games in his season back in Minnesota — he had spent three seasons with the Wild from 2010 to 2013 — as he spent time on the third and fourth lines. Cullen, who also helped Carolina win a Stanley Cup in 2006, has played in 1,445 NHL games and has 259 goals and 452 assists.