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Matt Cullen fields offers, isn’t against returning to Wild

Jul 3, 2013, 11:01 PM EDT

mattcullengetty Getty Images

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.

  1. hosewater2 - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Seriously Matt, at age 36 and on the downslope of your career you think your salary should go up? Wow.

    • lordfletcher - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      did you watch him play last year? Did any of you….

      if so, you wouldn’t be giving that comment a thumbs up because he had possibly the best year of his career. His age is up there in number but has shown he can still skate with anyone and has a very strong presence on the ice / locker room

      He is worth the cap hit he is asking for but the Wild cannot afford him. He will easily get 3 years / 10 million if he wants to sign on the dotted line from any of the GM’s calling him.

      • polegojim - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:15 AM

        Exactly… He played lights out better than PARISE… at 3.5 mil… he’s a MUCH better deal.

      • lordfletcher - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        better than Parise is a bit of a stretch. I think some people underestimate how hard it is to play with Koivu. Koivu is a power forward center that doesn’t dish like most play makers. Give them another half season together and or, break them up might be for the best.

        Much better deal, well sure. anything that is less than Parise’s deal would be considered a better deal.

      • polegojim - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        Lord… you can’t argue ‘facts’… you can’t say ‘better than Parise is a stretch’ in the playoffs… when Parise had 1 point…and Cullen had 3 points…. 3 is more than 1… and that is better.

        I don’t give guys credit for what they ‘might do’… Hey, I ‘might’ be President… but don’t start printing up the posters yet… Might Do = 0.

        If they actually do what you say they ‘might’… then I’ll be the first one to give them credit for what they DID – Parise and Koivu did not do what they were paid to do in the playoffs.

        That’s a fact.

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      I agree with hosewater all the way, he is going to be 37 yrs old he is in his last contract in playing hockey. Yes he was good for the Wild but the hockey world is all about economics.. YES I have seen him play, I have season tickets to the Wild, Gopher men and women and go to all the high school games and have been watching hockey for over 40 years…. Anyone can live on less than 3,5 mil a year especially in Minnesota, some of these players are getting so greedy and thats in all sports/.
      Loook at the Hawks, they have core players who make the big bucks, and the balance of them are fill in players who are good, but not great, thay play for 1-2 years and then are shipped out like Frolik, Bolland,and the Hawks find cheaper players of the same caliber ..
      Thats the way hockey teams have to form thier team due to the cba rules of max cap.
      IT Boils down to econmics and the new cba cap hit. The Wild need a D man and they dont have the money this year..
      Many of these UFA’s who make 4-5 mil a year are going to find out that they are not worth that much anymore especially if you are 2-3 line players and they will have to take a pay cut or play overseas or retire…. its the way of life this year in the NHL
      I just dont understand how armchair hockey people who dont go to ANY games or maybe 2-4 games a year can be so high on Cullen… I want a good team and if that means letting the younger players be on a line and get the experience and yes, maybe the team will not be that great this year due to all the young players thats ok, as I look forward as to what the team will be in 2-3 years not just now…. The Hawks were terrible for 4 yours until they built thier core players and they were all very young players like Toews and Kane… it takes time to build a good team… if he gets 10 mil 3year contract good for Cullen.. Its time to move on and think of the future and let the younger players get a chance.. I know many of you will not agree with me and thats ok, but I doubt if any of you spend as much money on hockey as I do, I travel to see the Wild and the Gopher mens team..go to the final 4 in college, went to Montreal, Nashville, Chgo, NY, Pits,Philly NJ, Detroit. LA,. so I do follow hockey and I want a great team not just a good team
      Remember why Parise and Suter signed last July 4th becuz of the young talent the Wild has not Cullen.
      I was hoping they would pick up Leopold but that did not happen.
      Hope the Wikd can rid themselves of some of the dead weight still on the team…

  2. shanesander - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    would welcome him in EDM with Horcoff on the way out. kill penalties and be used in top 6 if necessary. good versatility desire the age. would fit in well on the 3rd line and teach the worst faceoff team in the league how to win draws. RNH/Gagner were the worst 1-2C combo when it came to faceoffs

  3. nolockoutpricks - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    i know hes a good player and all but i hope the wild don’t sign him. its to much money and for too long of a deal. we have a lot of young prospects that could use the experience.

    • polegojim - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      … and too much money spent on just a few under-performers to keep performing Vets like him around… they did it to themselves.

      Parise (1pt / -7), Koivu (0 pts / -6), Heatley (-12) at 7, 7, 7 MIL each… NOT money well spent.

      Only Suter lived up to his hype and pay-grade of those ‘superstars’.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        yeah your a troll apparently. if you had watched any Wild games this year, you’d know that Parise lead the team in scoring with 38 point in 48 games. Koivu played 48 games and was second with 37 points and he was +2

      • polegojim - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        Nope minnesota…you must not post here much… I’m NOT a troll… and evidently you can’t read.

        The playoffs… the playoffs… see his PLAYOFFS numbers.

        Parise SUCKED WIND in the playoffs… but go on celebrating that regular season minor victory.

        Or maybe you just stop watching hockey in April and didn’t realize just how BADLY he played.

  4. mattyb8529 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Are you serious?? Parise carried this team last year. Know one contributed in the playoffs. As much as I like Cullen, he needs to move on. The Wild need to get younger & Parise is a leader. The Wild shouldn’t have signed Backstrom for 3years either. There still in need of one or two more top talent players that can SCORE!

    • polegojim - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      Evidently… as you… Minnesota and Rebekah have proven… reading is NOT fundamental in Minnesota… see PLAYOFFS

  5. rebekah319 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Parise did everything asked of him and more just like he always does. You honestly do not have to worry about him he is worth the money and time. Two more top talented players to score??? Everyone on this team right now should be able to score goals so when people say they need scorers? Look at what you have in front of you before saying that. They are not incaptable of not scoring goals they chose not to shoot or no one is in front of the net picking up the lose pucks. Big differences its not that we need someone who can score. They need to learn to FINISH!!!!!!!!!!!! I will dearly miss Cullen but the team has no extra money right now and Cullen deserves to follow his heart and go where he wishes. All I can say it sucks to lose a good decent person

    • polegojim - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      Seriously Rebekah… I don’t give a flip about the regular season…

      You say Parise did EVERYTHING asked of him??? OK – whow me where in his contract the Wild ASKED HIM… to have 1 point… and go -7… in the playoffs? That’s quite a request, and I guess you should be very glad he lived DOWN to that request…

      Yes, I agree… they NEED TO FINISH… which includes PARISE… and they signed Parise… TO FREAKING SCORE.

      Sheesh folks… what’s up with the major denial on this… keep loving that reg season and an trophy case devoid of Cups… you can join all those Shark and Caps fans with like minds.

  6. bosoxfanpeds - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    As a fan, why do GM’s feel the need of giving players 8,10,15 year contracts…..This makes it impossible to trade such players like Luongo…..Make a contract four year or less and no more……This will allow for competition with the players….and if they get hurt eg. Marc Savard you won’t have to keep them that allotted time on your payroll……Personally, I like what Boston has done with Seguin a noshow for the playoffs…..Good Bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out…..You by yourself cost us the cup you S.O.B……………….Can’t Wait to see ya’ll in the playoffs…….Tyler…..You better change your game Boy..

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