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Cullen signs one-year deal with hometown Minnesota Wild

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Veteran center Matt Cullen has signed with Minnesota Wild.

Matt Cullen is returning home to play his 20th season in the NHL.

The Wild announced Wednesday they were signing the free-agent center to a one-year deal, giving the team another scoring threat while allowing the Virginia, Minn. native and St. Cloud State alumnus to play for his home state team. He already played with the team for three years from 2010-'13. Cullen joined the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015 and won Stanley Cups with the team the past two seasons.

He's a 19-year veteran of the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup three times with more than 1,000 games played for eight teams and 689 points scored.

The new contract brings Cullen to Minnesota for one year, with a $1 million contract and $700,000 in performance bonuses. 

Cullen was he the anchor of the team's fourth line and a trusted penalty killer for the Penguins. He was also a respected voice in the locker room. Cullen made his decision passed for family reasons as he has three sons under age 12.

“At age 40, it's time to let the kids find some roots and settle down at home,” said Cullen. “As you go through a long career, the kids give up a lot to allow you to play. At a certain point here, it becomes more important to be fair to them, too.”

With Cullen out of the picture, second-year man Carter Rowney is expected to fill the role of fourth-line center. General Manager Jim Rutherford will likely look for a third line center via a trade or through free agency.

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