Matt Cullen spent half of his life in the NHL, but on Wednesday, the 42-year-old announced that he was calling for resignation after a 21-year career.
Selected by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at the time, with his 35th pick in 1996, Cullen then played for eight NHL teams: The Ducks, Panthers, Hurricanes, Rangers, Senators, Wild, Predators and Penguins. He has won three Stanley Cups during his career: one with Carolina in 2006 and two consecutive titles with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.
Cullen has just finished a season with the Penguins, in which he has played 71 games, amassing seven goals and 20 points, while averaging just over 11 and a half minutes of ice time per game. He finished his career with 1516 games played, 266 goals and 731 points.
The veteran center announced its decision to suspend the skates via the Penguins' Twitter account on Wednesday. The announcement was broadcast via an exceptional four-minute video highlighting the high points of Cullen's long career, but also a real "thank you" to those who helped him throughout his career. It's also just a very good content produced by the club.
The longevity of Cullen's career was largely based on intangibles and character. He has never been a superstar (he scored only 20 goals and never reached 50 points in a season), but he has always been considered a reliable player, the first in the team, who was excellent in the locker room. This is one of the main reasons why Cullen has had several relays with three separate teams during his career (Hurricanes, Wild and Penguins). He is the kind of guy whose teams do not realize how much they will miss before he leaves.
Cullen was the oldest active player in the NHL ranks. This honor now belongs to Zdeno Chara, who is also 42 years old, but 136 days younger than Cullen.