Matt Cullen is back with the Pittsburgh Penguins once again. The veteran forward who announced his retirement last month has been hired by the Penguins in a player development role and will work closely with GM Jim Rutherford and head coach Mike Sullivan. Rutherford explained the hiring:
Matt’s knowledge of the game and understanding of our organization will make him a valuable asset moving forward.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.
Cullen, 42, hung up his skates after a 21-year NHL career that included two Stanley Cups with the Penguins. He was a beloved figure in the dressing room and an integral part to the consecutive titles of 2016-17. Now joining the front office he’ll try to pass on some of that experience to the next wave of Pittsburgh talent. If there ever seemed a player destined to jump right into coaching it would be Cullen, who may very well never actually take a season off. Sullivan explained just why he’ll be valuable to the team:
Cully was a cerebral player with great leadership skills. 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 our staff.
Cullen played more than 1,500 games in his NHL career, the second-most ever by an American-born player. Not bad for a second-round pick out of St. Cloud State.
Class move for a class player
Is he in the front office or is he coaching?
“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 our staff.”
Yet, he was hired for what, by name at least, was Guerin’s old role?
“Player Development Coach” is typically the first stop when teams hire non-connected ex-players. It’s where Recchi and Guerin started. From there you can keep going on the “player development” track towards hopefully making a front-office spot like Assistant GM (like Guerin) or you can try the coaching track hopefully making it to Assistant Coach (like Recchi.)