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Montreal Canadiens

Van Riemsdyk, Cullen among free agents joining former teams

John Tavares isn't the only free agent going back to a familiar place.

Several players are returning to their former teams and comfortable situations — from James van Riemsdyk going back to Philadelphia on the second-richest July 1 deal to Matt Cullen taking a significant pay cut to rejoin the Pittsburgh Penguins he helped win the Stanley Cup twice. It's not quite the tug at the heartstrings that led Tavares to sign a $77 million, seven-year deal with his boyhood Toronto Maple Leafs, but familiarity was part of the bustle on the opening day of NHL free agency .

"I have that comfortablity with knowing a lot about the organization having played there in the past...