New Jersey Devils: Counting on Steve Sullivan

By Kristin Tullo (@K_Tullo)

Getty Images

Getty Images

It was a page out of Lamoriello’s book.

Bringing back a player that has donned the Devils’ crest earlier in his career and while other teams in the Atlantic Division were shedding cap space or adding to their roster for the regular season stretch before entering the playoffs. Lamoriello went back to the well and found former Devils draft pick, Steve Sullivan, from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a 2014 seventh-round draft pick. The 38-year old veteran has just five goals and seven assists this season. The numbers are not reassuring for a team that has only scored more than two goals once since their 4-1 win over Carolina on March 21.

The general manager has either decided he is comfortable with the roster the Devils currently have going forward, or has decided a team as soft and inconsistent as they have been all year isn’t worth losing prospects over.  Perhaps he believes he has already made his best moves well before the deadline by trading a late draft pick for Andrei Loktionov as well as re-acquiring Alexei Ponikarovski from the Winnipeg Jets for two 2014 draft picks. Both players have combined for 19-points, including nine goals. Whatever Lamoriello’s belief is, it has been evident the Devils’ have needed a top-6 wing in the absence of Ilya Kovalchuk and they did not get one.

In the wake of the Devils’ uninspiring trade deadline moves, they were shutout for the first time since March 13, 2012 when the Boston Bruins scored their lone goal off of the skate of newly acquired, Jaromir Jagr, to get by the Devils 1-0 on Thursday night. A frustrating loss where the Devils had chances they were unable to convert on because of the outstanding play of Tuukka Rask or simply having the crossbar getting in their way. This of course comes after the New York Rangers crushed the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-1 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, getting contributions from the new names on their roster, including Ryane Clowe who scored his first and second goals of the season. The win helped the Rangers gain an edge on the Devils and moved them to eighth place, where they are tied with New Jersey for 39 points but have a game at hand, landing the Devils just outside of a playoff spot.

Steve Sullivan was unavailable for Thursday’s loss in Boston so it is yet to be determined if a fresh face will spark a team that desperately needs to be woken up or not. In the past, the return of a Devils’ player has not always worked out and if Sullivan is added to the list next to Jason Arnott and Brian Rolston, the Devils will be looking at yet another playoff season they won’t be part of for the second time in three years. A far cry from the Stanley Cup Finals run they had last Spring.

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