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Insider Only Rumors: Is a Matt Cullen to Pittsburgh reunion potentially in play?

Matt Cullen is struggling mightily in Minnesota and is falling out of favor with Bruce Boudreau……Penguins Jim Rutherford has a soft spot for Cullen and Pittsburgh is on the hunt for another center……..

It was only going to be a matter of time before some Cullen to Pittsburgh speculation started surfacing.

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The early feedback on Cullen from evaluators has not been good.

In a return to the Western Conference against heavier teams, one scout via text says Cullen has been consistently getting “worked” in the defensive zone leading to extended shifts and he has looked “physically overmatched” [at times].

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If Pittsburgh entertains a Cullen reunion and Cullen is willing to leave his family when the return to Minnesota was about settling at home, the main question is whether Cullen at the level he is playing at this season is an upgrade over what the Penguins have in Riley Sheahan and Carter Rowney.

Sheahan is not the Penguins answer as the Penguins third line center and Penguin management knows it, but there’s no evidence Cullen at his level of play this season and age would be much of an upgrade over Sheahan or able to handle third line minutes.

Acquiring Cullen would be very popular in the room but aside from a sentimental move, Pittsburgh would be banking on that the Matt Cullen that’s been on tape this season in Minnesota is more about being a poor fit in the Wild’s system then Cullen looking like a player who should have retired.

Because he’s 41 years old, any consideration of bringing Cullen back has to be solely on what the Penguins feel he can still bring to the table than outside factors of how much Cullen is loved in the organization and what he did for them in the past.

Pittsburgh’s best move at this point in the season is being patient with their center situation, not close any doors on trying to add a legitimate No. 3 center with skill/goal scoring ability as re-acquiring Cullen would basically give the Penguins ‘three’-fourth line centers in Sheahan, Rowney and Cullen.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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