On Wednesday the New Jersey Devils acquired their former draft pick Steve Sullivan from the Phoenix Coyotes.
The 38-year-old forward only ended up playing in 49 contests with the New Jersey Devils before he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1997. However, before Sullivan was forced to change organizations, he had already spent parts of three seasons with the Devils’ AHL-affiliates, the Albany River Rats.
In 1995-96, Sullivan spent the better part of the season skating with an AHL rookie and fellow 1994 Devils draft pick: Patrik Elias.
“That’s where it started. Those were great times we had,” Elias, 36, told the Star-Ledger. “It was a lot of fun, although not the first few weeks and months for me coming from a totally different environment and not speaking the language.
“The boys made it easier and I had a tremendous time my first year there playing with Sully and Scotty Pellerin. It was enjoyable. Having Robbie Ftorek as a coach, he made it fun for us. A lot of good memories.”
Now Sullivan will be playing in his first Devils game in roughly 16 years when the Devils face, appropriately enough, the Maple Leafs tonight. And when he faces the team that first separated him from the Devils, he’ll be back to playing on a line with Elias.
“It’s been a long time but it’s exciting to be able to play with a player of his skill,” Sullivan said of Elias. “I’m very excited about the opportunity to play with him again.”
Peter DeBoer is confident that Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) will be back in time to try and help the Devils make the playoffs.
When exactly that might be, DeBoer couldn’t say.
“I can’t put a number on that yet,” DeBoer said, per The Record. “I can tell you he’s making great strides and I’m optimistic he’ll be able to help us down the stretch. For me, that means more than the last couple games.”
The Devils host the Leafs (who will also be without a top scorer) tomorrow, at which time trade-deadline acquisition Steve Sullivan will wear a New Jersey uniform for the first time since the mid-90s.
Sullivan, 38, started his NHL career with the Devils before stops in Toronto, Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
“Hopefully, he brings what he’s brought his entire career and that’s energy, speed and the ability to create some offense and play with good players,” DeBoer said. “So, I’m hopeful he can help us 5-on-5 and, hopefully, he can help us on the power play and maybe in shootouts.”
The Devils, ninth in the Eastern Conference, are winless in their last five games and have scored just once in their last two.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Nashville sending Martin Erat to Washington at the deadline yielded them a top prospect in Filip Forsberg that they’re positively giddy over. (The Tennessean)
Michel Therrien says the Canadiens “didn’t match their intensity” in losing to the Flyers last night. (Montreal Gazette)
Anders Lee’s transition to NHL life after leaving Notre Dame for the Islanders is going smoothly. (Islanders Point Blank)
Dustin Byfuglien going back to playing right wing? It might happen in Winnipeg after the Jets didn’t add anyone at the deadline. (Winnipeg Sun)
Doing that is made easier after Jacob Trouba arrives, although they’re not calling him a “savior” in Manitoba… Yet. (Winnipeg Sun)
Ken Holland is banking on Detroit’s youth to take care of them this season. (Detroit Free Press)
Steve Sullivan’s career is going full-circle after being sent to New Jersey. And to think, he started as an Albany River Rat. (Fire & Ice)
Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne were pretty awesome for Anaheim last night against Dallas. (L.A. Times)
Nick Spaling sums it up well for the Predators saying every point is huge now. Well, no kidding! (The Tennessean)