Courtesy of Point Park University

Cullen returns in player development role


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Matt Cullen. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Matt Cullen is back on the Penguins' payroll.

Just weeks after announcing his retirement following a 21-year playing career, Cullen has joined the team's hockey operations department, where he will fill a player development role.

"Matt's knowledge of the game and understanding of our organization will make him a valuable asset moving forward," Jim Rutherford said in a statement released by the team. "With over 20 years in the NHL and three Stanley Cups, we are certain he will continue to have a positive influence on our players."

The decision to hire Cullen hardly is a surprise. Rutherford had expressed his interest in keeping Cullen in some capacity, and Cullen had made it clear that sticking with the organization was an attractive option for him.

Rutherford said that Cullen will work with him, Mike Sullivan and the rest of the coaching staff.

"(Cullen) was a cerebral player with great leadership skills," Sullivan said, in a statement. "He is a natural coach who will offer great insight to our coaching staff and to our players. We look forward to adding him to the staff."

The Penguins' current player development staff includes director of player development Scott Young, development coach Tom Kostopoulos, goaltending development coach Andy Chiodo, and skills development coach Ty Hennes — all except Hennes played in the Penguins organization at one time.

Cullen, 42, appeared in 1,516 NHL games, 19th-most in NHL history. He played 225 of those with the Penguins.

Cullen was a member of the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2016 and 2017, and won a championship with Carolina in 2006, when Rutherford was the general manager there.

He was drafted by Anaheim in the second round in 1996 and, in addition to the NHL, made numerous appearances on U.S. squads in international competitions, including one at the World Junior Championship and four at the World Championships.

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