According to a report from Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, Pittsburgh Penguins fans could be treated to a Matt Cullen reunion at this year’s trade deadline.
In breaking down all of the latest NHL trade rumours with host Sportsnet host David Amber, Friedman touched on the possibility of the veteran Cullen re-joining the Penguins for the stretch drive and the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I think it is a possibility. The thing with Pittsburgh is that we’ve linked a lot of centers to them throughout the year including Tomas Plekanec, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Derrick Brassard and I think they’ve taken a look at Derek Ryan from Carolina, but I do think it’s possible that they go back to the well and say ‘hey is there any chance, you’re not going to use Matt Cullen down the stretch?’
If it turns out that Cullen isn’t in the plans for the Minnesota Wild, would they be open to a trade with the Pens? It’s no secret that Pens GM Jim Rutherford has been seeking another 3rd or 4th line center via the trade market, who better than Cullen? The 41-year-old Minnesota native was a key cog in the Penguins’ 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup championships, could he help drive the team towards a third consecutive title?
Is Cullen the solution to the Penguins’ problems? Friedman seems to think so saying, “I do think there is a chance that maybe Pittsburgh’s solution to adding another center could be Cullen himself.”
In 51 games with the Wild this season, Cullen has managed just four goals and 11 points, but managed 30+ points in each of his two seasons with the Penguins. He's a reliable, shutdown style centerman with excellent face-off skills. With the emergence of Riley Sheahan as the team's third line center with Phil Kessel on his wing, the door is wide open for Cullen on the fourth line. It seems like a natural fit, but until Rutherford pulls the trigger all we can do is wait.