The Predators got quite a steal on Feb. 16, 2004 when they acquired Steve Sullivan from the Chicago Blackhawks for a pair of draft picks. A trade made to bolster the offense for a push toward the first playoff berth in franchise history, “Sully” made an immediate impact, posting a hat trick and assisting on another goal in his first game as Pred two days later in a 7-3 victory over the Sharks.
“You look for turning points in franchise history, and I think everybody to a man felt that Steve Sullivan’s first game with the Predators when he scored a hat trick against San Jose was a turning point for our franchise,” said general manager David Poile upon re-signing Sullivan to a four-year contract on Aug. 16, 2005. “It was a day where we all felt we were going to make the playoffs, and that we had taken it up a notch with a quality player.”
Entering the 2007-08 campaign, Sullivan had racked up 158 points (62g-96a) in just 150 games making him the only Predator ever to average more than a point a game. He is the only player in franchise history to record three hat tricks, and his 2005-06 goal total of 31 was tied for the highest ever.
Sullivan has emerged as an NHL star despite the odds being against him throughout his 13-year pro career. Thought to be too small to make it, the 5-8, 165-pound right winger wasn’t taken until 233rd overall by New Jersey in the 1994 Entry Draft. His second team, Toronto, also gave up on the Timmins, Ont., native and placed him on waivers. But, Sullivan has done nothing but prove doubters wrong through the years, reaching the 20-goal plateau eight straight seasons and 60-plus points on eight occasions.