By Jeff O’Connor
As we predicted about a week ago, the New Jersey Devils traded for Steve Sullivan of the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday in exchange for a 7th-round draft pick in 2014. There is no reason to hate this trade. In fact, there is only uspide to it.
Even if for some reason, you absolutely hate Sullivan, it only cost them a seventh round pick in next year’s draft. That’s nothing. In the last 13 years, the most any Devils 7th-round pick has ever played is 31 career games.
Over the last two seasons, Sullivan has been a solid postseason performer. In his last 15 postseason games, he has four goals and nine points. He knows the playoffs well, playing in seven postseasons and 50 total games for his career.
While he may not have the blazing speed he had in Nashville, he still has some jump left in his legs and will give the Devils a bit more agility through the neutral zone.
He’s a versatile guy too. If they need him to play on the top line, he can fit in with the big guns but he can also play a role on the bottom two lines as well and focus on strong puck control. He also works on the power play.
He may be 5’9″, but he still is shifty, crafty and can make a defender or a goalie miss. This goal is only from two years ago; he still has a bag of tricks he can use when he has the puck.
When he was in Nashville, Sullivan was expected to help lead the club. He declined his last three seasons there thanks to a back injury, but was re-ignited when he went to the Penguins last year. He pumped in 17 goals in a secondary role. For the Devils, he won’t need to be a star. He can play that secondary scorer type role. Consider that he was on a struggling team in Phoenix and wasn’t having the best season himself, hopefully a fresh start in Jersey re-energizes Sullivan for the stretch run.
Hopefully he can add some scoring punch to this club that desperately needs it. It’s always nice to old faces come home. Welcome back Steve!