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Suter counters perception he will test free agency

by Dan Rosen
KANATA, Ont. -- Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter's comments Friday regarding his ongoing contract negotiations and his pending status as an unrestricted free agent created a bit of unintended controversy at the NHL's All-Star weekend. As a result, the Nashville defenseman felt the need to clarify exact comments he made at 2012 NHL All-Star Media Day presented by Allstate. Suter told reporters he didn't want to sign a new contract prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

Suter said he felt the media portrayed his comments to mean that he will test the open market when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Prior to Sunday's 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, Suter told that portrayal is inaccurate.

"I never said that [test the open market] and I don't want to right now. I want to focus on playing for Nashville."
-- Ryan Suter

"I never said that [test the open market] and I don't want to right now," Suter said. "I want to focus on playing for Nashville. We've got a good team and if we can add a couple of pieces here and there I think we have a legitimate chance of going to win the Stanley Cup."

Suter said any discussions he and Neil Sheehy have had with Predators GM David Poile have focused on the direction of the franchise. Suter said they will not talk about money until after the season is finished mainly because he doesn't want his contract negotiations to become a distraction to the Predators, who have won 12 of their past 14 games to climb into fifth place in the Western Conference.

"That's the way we're headed," Suter said. "I think David Poile is on the same page."

While Suter remains slightly concerned that Poile could trade him prior to 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 27, he said doesn't believe the Predators' GM could even consider it if the team remains in contention.

"If we keep winning, we keep playing well, with the guys we have on the team and if we can add a couple of pieces, I think we can go far," Suter said. "It's (Poile's) call. It's his team and he can do what he wants with it, but I'd like to win this year."

To do that, Suter said it is important to him -- both now and for the future -- that Poile go out and add "the right pieces" prior to the trade deadline. He said it will show him the organization is serious about winning.

"If the right deal can be made, I think it's important that we try to make it," Suter said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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