RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has acquired center Matt Cullen from the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, forward Joe Barnes and a third round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
“Matt was an important member of our championship team in 2006 and we obviously know he is an excellent fit for our style of play,” said Rutherford. “He is extremely popular in our dressing room and his speed and skill will be important assets going forward.”
“Whenever you start hearing rumors, you don’t really know what to expect," said Cullen. "Obviously going back to Carolina would be an ideal situation, but you never really know for sure what is true and what isn’t. I got the first call today from (New York Rangers Head Coach) Tom Renney. Not long after that, Jim Rutherford called. As soon as I found out it was all real, I was absolutely thrilled. Carolina feels a lot like home for me and my family. It’s great to be going back home.”
Cullen, 30, ranked sixth among Rangers skaters in scoring in 2006-07, with 16 goals and 25 assists (41 points) in 80 games. The Virginia, Minn., native was tied for the team lead in shorthanded goals with three, which established a new career-high. He also set career-highs in penalty minutes (52) and shots on goal (217) in 2006-07. Cullen (6’1’’, 200 lbs.) had one goal and three assists (4 points) in 10 Stanley Cup playoff games for the Rangers.
In 671 career NHL games with Anaheim, Florida, Carolina and the Rangers, Cullen has registered 118 goals and 203 assists for 321 points. He established career highs in goals (25) and points (49) in 2005-06 with Carolina, ranking sixth on the team in goals and third in shots (214). Cullen had four goals and 14 assists (18 points) while playing in all 25 postseason contests for the Hurricanes to help the team capture the Stanley Cup. He ranked fourth in the NHL in playoff assists in 2006, including a pair of helpers in the clinching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against Edmonton. Cullen, Anaheim’s second round (35th overall) selection in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, will begin 2007-08 in the second year of a four-year contract.
Hutchinson had three goals and 11 assists (14) points and 30 penalty minutes for Carolina in 2006-07. Barnes, a third round selection of the Hurricanes in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, played 15 games for Albany of the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2006-07, totaling two goals and one assist (3 points).
The Carolina Hurricanes open their preseason schedule on Sunday, Sept. 16 against the Washington Capitals at 3 p.m. The game is free to all fans as part of the annual Caniac Carnival. The Hurricanes begin their 10th Anniversary regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the RBC Center against the Montreal Canadiens. For information on Hurricanes ticket packages, please call 1-866-NHL-CANES or visit our season ticket page.