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Sullivan Brings Skill, Savvy to Coyotes

Thursday, 07.05.2012 / 1:54 PM / Features
By Dave Vest

GLENDALE – The Coyotes added veteran winger Steve Sullivan to the mix on Wednesday, confident he will fill the void left when Ray Whitney signed with Dallas on Sunday.

Steve Sullivan

“Steve is an intelligent player who adds skill to our lineup and will help improve our power play,” General Manager Don Maloney said. “He is a great addition to our roster.”

Sullivan, who will turn 38 years old on Friday, notched 17 goals and 48 points for Pittsburgh last season.

Sullivan said signing a one-year pact with Phoenix was an easy decision, especially considering the Coyotes are coached by Dave Tippett.

“They made such a deep run last year, and if you look at how they did it, it was definitely a team effort, starting with great goaltending and working its way out,” Sullivan said. “You hear so many great things about coach Tippett… it’s definitely a system I’m a little bit familiar with. If you look at my years in Nashville – both organizations and coaching styles are similar. I think I can fit into that system (and) playing for a players’ coach is always really, really fun.”

Sullivan is a quick and crafty player who can play either wing. While nothing is written in stone, it’s likely Sullivan will be slotted into Whitney’s spot on a line with center Martin Hanzal and winger Radim Vrbata.

Photo by Getty Images.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what (Tippett) has planned for me,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan has scored one-fourth of his 283 NHL goals on the power play. The Coyotes, who ranked 29th in the NHL on the power play last season (13.6 percent), are hoping he and newly-signed forward David Moss will help improve that ranking.

Despite having played in the NHL since 1995, Sullivan will see only a few familiar faces when he walks into the Coyotes dressing room for the first time. He and defenseman Zbynek Michalek were teammates in Pittsburgh last season, and he and defenseman Derek Morris once were Team Canada teammates at the IIHF World Championship.

“It’s going to be a new bunch of guys and some new experiences and teammates, so I’m really looking forward to that,” said Sullivan, who played for New Jersey, Toronto, Chicago and Nashville before Pittsburgh. “It’s never easy to coming in to a new organization but I’ve learned most teams are extremely welcoming and there’s not really a bad guy in the game of hockey… I’m really excited.”

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