The Hurricanes have reacquired the centre from the New York Rangers for defenceman Andrew Hutchinson, forward Joe Barnes and a third-round pick in next year's draft. The 30-year-old Cullen had 16 goals and 25 assists in 80 games last season.
He spent the best year of his career in Carolina in 2005-06, when he had 25 goals and 24 assists in leading the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup.
Cullen has 118 goals and 203 assists in 671 career games with four NHL teams.
Hutchinson had three goals and 11 assists for Carolina last season.