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‘I want to be close to home,’ says Preds forward, Minnesota native and pending UFA Cullen

Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators - Game Two

Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators - Game Two

NHLI via Getty Images

After 17 years and seven different cities, Nashville Predators veteran Matt Cullen is thinking about home.

“I’m going to spend as much time as I can and try to evaluate what I want to do,” Cullen, a Minnesota native and pending UFA, told the Dickinson Press. “I know already in my head that there’s a few places, if I do decide to play, I’d consider going to.

“I want to be close to home. My family will be home (Moorhead, MN) regardless next year.”

Cullen, who goes unrestricted on July 1 and turns 39 in November, just wrapped a two-year, $7 million deal with the Preds. His first year was fairly productive -- 10 goals and 39 points in 77 games -- and while he struggled early this season, Cullen eventually found his niche as a “versatility guy,” flipping between the middle and wing, jumping up into the No. 2 center spot when Mike Fisher went down to injury during the playoffs.

As for playing close to home, well, Minnesota is the obvious answer... but Cullen’s already done a tour with the Wild, having played there from 2010-13. Winnipeg is also relatively close to home, and it’s worth pointing out that Cullen played for Jets head coach Paul Maurice during his time with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Retirement could also be an option but, according to agent Pat Morris, Cullen still has plenty to give.

“I know that he should [keep playing],” Morris said, per The Tennessean. “He can still skate and still make plays, and he’s still a very good teammate.”