New Jersey Devils Snag Sparkplug Steve Sullivan

The Timmins Tornado is coming full circle.  That’s right, the New Jersey Devils have reacquired forward Steve Sullivan from the Phoenix Coyotes, for a 2014 seventh-round draft pick.  Sullivan, who debuted with the Devils in 1996 as a speedy spark-plug, returns to New Jersey, becoming the 24th player in club history to make a second tour of duty.

Steve Sullivan (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
Steve Sullivan (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

During his first stint with the Devils, Sullivan posted 13 goals and 18 assists, across parts of two seasons.  Sullivan was eventually traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with defenceman Jason Smith and the rights to Alyn McCauley, for Doug Gilmour, Dave Ellett and a 1999 third-round pick (which turned out to be defenceman Andre Lakos).  Since then, Sullivan has racked up 288 goals and 454 assists for the Devils, Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Phoenix Coyotes.

Recently Sullivan amassed his 1,000th career game while playing with the Coyotes at Nashville.  On the season, Sullivan has five goals and seven assists, including a hat-trick earlier this year against the Columbus Blue Jackets.  If he was surprised by the deal, it might have to do with the fact that prior to their 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, the Coyotes honored Sullivan for eclipsing that 1,000 game milestone.  It turned out to be a nice send-off as well.

“It was a shock. I really didn’t see it coming, but it’s a great opp. Glad to be going back to where it all began.” – .

As I mentioned in a recent article, I believe it’s a shrewd move by Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello.  Sullivan is familiar with the system and philosophy of the Devils and he’ll be reinvigorated by having another shot at the Stanley Cup.  For those who remember, Sullivan had quite a successful run for the club’s AHL affiliate Albany River Rats.  Along with helping the 1994-95 squad capture a Calder Cup, Sullivan also posted two 30-goal seasons for Albany.

Considering what the Devils gave up, it’s a great depth move for a proven veteran.  It was also a solid move from the standpoint of not blowing up the blueprint of the future in a truncated season.

While the Devils won’t be expecting him to be the engine of their offense, they’ll be just as happy to have their spark-plug back.