Coyotes assistant GM Steve Sullivan to remain heavily involved in player development

May 22, 2017, 2:56 PM
Phoenix Coyotes' Steve Sullivan (26) and St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie (74) battle as they try to get to the puck in the third period of an NHL hockey gamen Thursdayn March 7, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. The Blues won 6-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

When Steve Sullivan finally hung up his skates after a 16-season NHL playing career, he knew he wanted to stay involved with the game. He just didn’t know what form that involvement would take.

He considered broadcasting, he considered scouting and he considered coaching, but two seasons into his second career, Sullivan is on the management fast track. The Coyotes promoted him to the role of assistant general manager on May 18, one season after he was promoted from player development coach to director of player development. The new position also includes the title of GM for the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners.

“My role is not going to change much from how things progressed this past year,” Sullivan said Monday. “I will still be heavily involved in player development. This path really just evolved from the beginning.”

Sullivan said the additional duties of his job are still being hashed out in meetings with Coyotes GM John Chayka and coach/executive vice president of hockey operations Dave Tippett. While Sullivan has not had a significant role in preparations for the NHL Draft in Chicago in June, he will play a major role in filling Tucson’s positional needs with an eye toward how those additions might impact the greater organization.

Instead of having a separate Roadrunners GM, as the Coyotes had last year with Doug Soetaert, Sullivan’s Tucson title is expected to further enhance the symmetry of the two franchises and allow the Coyotes to have an even greater voice in both the selection of the roster pieces and the development of those players.

“I am a true believer in developing from within,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said he and development coach Mike Van Ryn have already completed much of the prep work for the team’s prospect development camp, which will take place the week after the NHL Draft. Sullivan and Van Ryn will be in close contact with the players that the team selects to iron out summer plans that will also involve skills coach Steve Potvin and skating coach Dawn Braid.

Last season, several of the Coyotes’ top prospects remained in the Valley after the camp to train with the Coyotes’ developmental staff.

“I’m not going to be running around watching all the prospects like I did last year so it won’t be quite as intense as far as that’s concerned,” he said. “We had a lot players graduate from junior or college this past season and a few more coming out this season so our pool of young players is changing. Once we know what the landscape looks like after the Draft we can make more decisions going forward.”

Chayka said the team is still evaluating whether it will fill Sullivan’s old position as director of player development from within — with someone such as Van Ryn — or if it will look at external candidates.

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