Matt Cullen joins Penguins front office in player development role

Pittsburgh’s Matt Cullen scored against his former team to reach the 20-point mark for the 20th time in his NHL career.

After two championships and 225 games in a Pittsburgh Penguins uniform, Matt Cullen is staying in town for his post-playing career.

After announcing his retirement from the NHL after a 21-year career that brought in three total Stanley Cups, Cullen is set to join Pittsburgh’s front office in a player development role, the club announced Thursday.

The 42-year-old will work closely with GM Jim Rutherford, head coach Mike Sullivan and the rest of the coaching staff, according to the team.

“Matt’s knowledge of the game and understanding of our organization will make him a valuable asset moving forward,” Rutherford said via a team release. “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 won all three of his Stanley Cups alongside Rutherford — the first coming with the Hurricanes during Rutherford’s tenure as Carolina’s GM, and the latter two coming alongside the veteran manager in Pittsburgh.

“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,” Sullivan added, per the team’s release.

Coming to Pittsburgh at age 39 and seeing the club immediately infuse a hefty dose of youth into their squad, Cullen played a key role in helping young stars like Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel acclimate to the big leagues before helping Pittsburgh earn their championship rings.

The Virginia, Minn., native finished his playing career with 731 points through 1,516 games — the 19th-most games played all time, and second-most among American-born NHLers — split between the Ducks, Hurricanes, Wild, Penguins, Panthers, Predators, Rangers and Senators.

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