Matt Cullen hasn’t totally ruled out returning to the Minnesota Wild despite the long odds, but he admitted to the Minnesota Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo that he’s also taking calls from other teams as unrestricted free agency approaches.
“I’m just waiting to hear what Minnesota’s doing, but in the meantime, I’ve taken some calls from other teams,” Cullen said. “It’s a weird deal the way it’s set up now and I’m just trying to go into this with as open as a mind as possible. [GM Chuck Fletcher has] been very up front and honest with me and I’ll continue to do the same thing with them and keep communicating.
“At the same time, I just have to field these calls and do that side of it too because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ll just see how many offers I have and see what I have for options here, and as the next couple days go on, I’ll get a clearer picture at to what they are and take a little time and figure out a decision.”
Cullen’s situation might make a change almost a guarantee.
Russo reports that Cullen is seeking a three-year deal that might even average more than his previous cap hit of $3.5 million.
Cap Geek lists the Wild’s cap space at $3.75 million, so that (and the fact that the 36-year-old would burden the team with a 35+ contract) makes it hard to imagine a return.
It remains to be seen if Cullen can get that type of deal anywhere. He’s a well-liked two-way center who had a nice season , scoring 27 points in 42 games and three points in five postseason contests (not bad since Minnesota only managed seven goals against Chicago), yet teams might balk at a deal with that kind of term.
While he doesn’t carry the name recognition, he could be a nice target this summer, whether he gets the deal he wants or not.