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Sullivan: 'Glad to be going back to where it all began'

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Steve Sullivan is coming back to New Jersey.

The Devils announced Wednesday they had acquired the veteran forward from Phoenix in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2014.

"It was a shock," Sullivan told "I really didn't see it coming, but it's a great opportunity. I'm glad to be going back to where it all began."

Sullivan, 38, has five goals, including two on the power play, and seven assists in 33 games this season. Now he prepares for a second tour with the club that drafted him 233rd overall in 1994.

He would be the 24th player to be reacquired and see action with the Devils.

"I wasn't sure exactly what the [Coyotes] were going to do or what role I would be in or what direction the team was going to go," Sullivan said. "I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was New Jersey, if I was going to go anywhere. It's definitely a first-class organization that I had a hard time leaving the first time many years ago, but I'm glad to be returning."

A veteran of 1,002 NHL games, Sullivan debuted in February 1996 and spent parts of his first two NHL seasons in New Jersey. In February 1997, the Devils dealt him to Toronto along with Jason Smith and the rights to Alyn McCauley for Doug Gilmour, Dave Ellett and a third round pick in 1999.

Sullivan has collected 288 goals and 454 assists in a career that's included stops in Chicago, Nashville and Pittsburgh, where he posted six points (2g-4a) in six playoff games last season.

He departs 12th-place Phoenix and jumps right into the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.

"That's going to be great," he said. "Obviously, as hockey players, our goal is to play for the Stanley Cup, and to do so, you have to get into the playoffs. Getting right back into the thick of things of a playoff race is definitely going to be refreshing for myself. I just look forward to hopefully getting another chance at playing for the Cup."

As of Wednesday afternoon, Sullivan had yet to speak to the Devils coaching staff about his role, but said he's ready for anything.

"I'm just going to go in with an open mind. Hopefully I can help in some capacity, and wherever they want me to fill in, I'll be glad to do so," he said.

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