Senators UFA dossier: Matt Cullen

Although Matt Cullen was brought in late in the season, he might present an answer to the Ottawa Senators longstanding search for some scoring depth and another top-six forward. With all of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek, Alex Kovalev, and Mike Fisher already under contract, and Peter Regin only a formality RFA-re-signing away (at least hopefully), the top-six wil be competitive--will there be room for Cullen? If so, how much can we offer him, and for how long?


Matt Cullen

#7 / Center / Ottawa Senators

6-1

200

Nov 02, 1976



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Matt Cullen 81 16 32 48 -7 34 2 2 2 0 195 8.2

Contract status: Cullen's just finished the last year of his four-year, $11.5M contract this past season. At 32, he's probably still got two contracts ahead of him before his career really tails off, depending what kind of term he's looking at for his next one.

Season review: Cullen was picked up in exchange for Alexandre Picard and a second-round pick just before the Olympic break. He started fairly slowly in the regular season, putting up only eight points in 21 games (although he contributed to the penalty kill). Come playoff time, though, Cullen showed his real value: 8P in the Sens' 6 playoff games, often looking like the best forward on the team. Cullen was one of only a few players with Stanley Cup rings on Ottawa's roster last year, and that experience would be valuable heading into a season with increased expectations.

Comparable players: In looking for baselines to measure Cullen against, I looked to NHLers with similar point production rates through their careers, and in the same general age group--anywhere from 32 to 37 years old, trying to compare to their contracts signed when they were Cullen's age.


Daymond Langkow

#22 / Center / Calgary Flames

5-10

183

Sep 27, 1976

Cap hit: $4.5M, one more season



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Daymond Langkow 72 14 23 37 2 30 1 1 2 0 126 11.1

Langkow has put up better points than Cullen through the NHL, but plays a similar role: He won't be your go-to guy on offence, but he will offer great support to your stars and superstars. And Langkow had signed his contract three years back, and is the same age as Cullen, so his value has come down. Cullen would be reasonable to look for a contract in the three- to four-year range, but won't likely get a salary as high as Langkow's.


John Madden

#11 / Center / Chicago Blackhawks

5-11

190

May 04, 1973

Cap hit: UFA



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - John Madden 79 10 13 23 -2 12 0 0 0 0 127 7.9

Contrary to Langkow, Madden's actually got lower career point production than Cullen, but he's a more defensive player who typically shuts down opposing players. In that sense, he's a reasonable comparison to Cullen, who can kill penalties well and is generally defensively responsible. Madden's just finished a one-year, $2.75M deal, and before that he was on a deal worth just under $3M per year.


Darcy Tucker

#16 / Right Wing / Colorado Avalanche

5-10

178

Mar 15, 1975

Cap hit: UFA



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Darcy Tucker 71 10 14 24 -3 47 3 0 1 0 73 13.7

Tough to admit, but Tucker does offer some pretty good offence, although he'd slot in as a third-line winger on most teams, while Cullen could easily step up to a second line. Still, Tucker offers about as much value in pestiness as Cullen does in defensive responsibility, to their values work out to a pretty close sum total. Tucker's finishing off a two-year, $4.5M deal (which he signed when he was as old as Cullen is now), but Cullen's number would likely go higher due to his increased offensive potential.


Tomas Holmstrom

#96 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

198

Jan 23, 1973

Cap hit: $1.875M, two more seasons



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Tomas Holmstrom 68 25 20 45 5 60 13 0 5 0 131 19.1

I found it hard to believe, but Holmstrom's career production is almost identical to Cullen's: Holmstrom's got 469P in 879GP, Cullen's got 461P in 880GP. Holmstrom's played a lot more playoff games, but he's been on better teams over his career. Amazingly, Holmstrom has never made as much in one season as Cullen did last year: He's just finished a three-year deal that paid him $2.25M per season, and then signed a two-year extension just weeks ago for $1.875M per. Ottawa might want to bring him up when negotiating with Cullen.


Mike Knuble

#22 / Right Wing / Washington Capitals

6-3

223

Jul 04, 1972

Cap hit: $2.8M, one more season



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Mike Knuble 69 29 24 53 23 59 6 0 5 0 151 19.2

He had a heck of a season last year with the Capitals (who didn't), but Knuble and Cullen have had similar career production. Knuble is, though, a pretty good comparison to Cullen based on the numbers. Before this season, Knuble signed a two-year deal with Washington worth $2.8M per season.

Conclusion: Cullen would probably like a raise from his salary this past season, but shouldn't count on it being to substantial. The line-of-best-fit drawn by the comparable players above is skewed by Langkow's salary, which Cullen won't approach, but it's also brought down by Holmstrom's. In all likelihood, Cullen will be awarded a contract worth perhaps $8.1M over the next three seasons (perhaps structured as $3.2M, $2.7M, $2.2M in order to give him an immediate raise), or he could take a higher-paying, shorter-term deal (for a player of his age, perhaps not a worthwhile risk).

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Silver Seven

You must be a member of Silver Seven to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Silver Seven. You should read them.

Join Silver Seven

You must be a member of Silver Seven to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Silver Seven. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker