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Rangers sign forward Matt Cullen

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

· Rangers sign defenseman Rachunek
· Rangers sign goaltender Valiquette
· Rangers sign defenseman Girardi

Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has signed unrestricted free agent forward Matt Cullen.

"We are very happy to add Matt to our lineup," said Sather. "He brings speed and versatility to the team, with the ability to play center or wing as well as the point on the power play."

Cullen, 29, appeared in 78 games with the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes last season, registering 25 goals and 24 assists for 49 points, along with 40 penalty minutes. While establishing career highs in goals (25) and points (49), he tied for second on the team in game-winning goals (five), ranked third in shots (214), sixth in goals (25) and tied for seventh in power play goals (eight). He also posted nine multiple-point games, including two three-point games, and recorded a six-game point-scoring streak from January 17 to January 26, tallying five goals and three assists over the span.

In 25 postseason contests, Cullen notched four goals and 14 assists for 18 points, helping the Hurricanes capture the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. His 14 playoff assists ranked fourth in the NHL, while his 18 points was tied for sixth in the league. He was also named "Fan Favorite" by the Carolina Hurricanes Booster Club for 2005-06 and was a member of the 'taxi' squad for the US Olympic Team at the 2006 Winter Games.

The 6-1, 205-pounder has appeared in 591 career NHL contests with the Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, collecting 102 goals and 178 assists for 280 points, along with 254 penalty minutes. In 2001-02, Cullen registered 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points, along with 24 penalty minutes in 79 games, while leading Anaheim in assists (30) and ranking second on the team in scoring (48 points). He also ranked third on the club in goals (18).

In 2004-05, Cullen led the Italian league with 27 goals and ranked second in the league in scoring with 60 points (27 goals and 33 assists) in 36 games, as he helped lead Cortina to the league championship series before being eliminated by Milan.

Internationally, Cullen represented USA at the 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2004 World Championship tournaments. In 2004, he tied for second on the team in scoring with six points (two goals and four assists) in nine games and helped his country capture a bronze medal.

The native of Virginia, Minn., was originally Anaheim's second selection, 35th overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to Florida from Anaheim, along with Pavel Trnka and Anaheim's fourth round selection (James Pemberton) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Sandis Ozolinsh and Lance Ward on January 30, 2003. On August 5, 2004, Cullen signed as a free agent with the Carolina Hurricanes.
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