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free agency

Matt Cullen signs one-year contract with Penguins

Two-time Cup-winning center, 39, will play 19th NHL season @NHL

Forward Matt Cullen signed a one-year, $1 million contract to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

Cullen, 39, had 16 goals and 32 points in 82 games with the Penguins last season, when they won the Stanley Cup.

"Pittsburgh was always the No. 1 priority," Cullen told the Penguins website. "It was something I'd hoped to get done kind of quietly right away, but word kind of gets out and it was a lot of other teams that became involved. But Pittsburgh was my No. 1 priority the entire time and I made that very clear from the beginning that's where I wanted to go.

"It was just a matter of working everything out. It took a little bit longer than probably any of us would have long expected. Sometimes that's how it works, and it was always one of those things where it felt like it was just a matter of time before it got done."

In 18 NHL seasons, Cullen has 235 goals and 658 points with the Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators, in 1,294 games.

"My gut just wanted me to play and my family was fully on board," he said. "They love living there. It was a lot easier of a decision than I thought it was going to be. But I wanted to give it some time. So we took plenty of time to make sure."

He has 16 goals and 47 points in 98 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006.

"To come back with the same group and to go after it again is really exciting," Cullen said. "We all go into it knowing there are going to be challenges and it's not easy to repeat. But to get a chance to go after it again with almost the same group, I mean, that's pretty cool."

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