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Penguins

When it comes to jersey numbers, seniority rules for newest Penguins

Jonathan Bombulie
| Monday, July 2, 2018, 6:03 p.m.
The Penguins' Matt Cullen scores past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the second period of Game 4 of their Eastern Conference second-round playoff series Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at Consol Energy Center.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Matt Cullen scores past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the second period of Game 4 of their Eastern Conference second-round playoff series Wednesday, May 4, 2016, at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins signed two players on the opening day of free agency Sunday, adding defenseman Jack Johnson and center Matt Cullen to the roster.

Immediately, that posed a problem.

Both players wore No. 7 last season. Cullen has been wearing the number since joining the Ottawa Senators in a 2010 trade. Johnson has been wearing it since being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012.

In cases such as this, seniority almost always wins out, and that's what happened with Cullen and Johnson.

Cullen, a 41-year-old veteran of more than 1,400 NHL games, will wear No. 7 next season. Johnson, a 31-year-old veteran of almost 800 games, will wear No. 73 instead, the team announced Monday.

Johnson is combining the numbers he has worn for most of his NHL career. He wore No. 3 during the majority of his six-year tenure with the Los Angeles Kings and during his college days at Michigan.

Olli Maatta has worn No. 3 for the Penguins since his NHL debut in 2013.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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