Position: Left wing
2013 statistics: 9 games with Devils/2 goal, 3 assists, 5 points/minus-4 rating, 4 PIMs
Free-agent status: Unrestricted
2012-13 salary/cap hit: $1.85 million/$2.6 million (via Cap Geek)
Team history: Drafted by Devils in ninth round (233rd overall) in 1994
What he brings: At a time when a lot of players are petering out, Sullivan managed to find a niche role for himself. Despite his advanced age, Sullivan can still put the puck in or immediately around the net. He showed that during his brief return to the Devils, serving as a solid, if unspectacular third-line winger for a severely banged-up Devils squad. He's also responsible enough in his own zone that he's not a liability in that sense and given his experience Sullivan can basically fit into any NHL system and pick it up pretty quickly. Also, as shown by his salary/cap hit above, you get a lot of bang for your buck with Sullivan, who had seven goals and 17 points in 33 total games this season and is still a half-a-point-per-game player.
What he lacks: The obvious thing is something Sullivan's always lacked: size. He's obviously managed to overcome that and have one heck of a career for a guy that's only 5-foot-9 while standing on phone books. Unfortunately, those natural skills and playmaking abilities that allowed him to overcome his impish stature are fading to the point where he probably doesn't have a ton of time left in the league. Also, Sullivan can be inconsistent and disappear for lengths of time, which is understandable when you're secondary or tertiary scoring, but the Devils don't have consistent top-level offense to survive inconsistency down below.
Should he stay or should he go: To be blunt, the Devils have better options than Steve Sullivan right now -- either on the roster, in free agency or in the system. The truth is that Sullivan is the perfect trade deadline acquisition for a team looking to add some speed and offensive skill for the final stretch without upsetting the apple cart. But for a team like the Devils that was too fragile, too thin and lacked consistent offense from its second- and third-line wings. Don't get me wrong, Sullivan can and probably will help someone out there seeking veteran scoring for about 60 games next season. The Devils are not in the position to give a roster spot to him, though. They need to get younger, more skilled and more reliable on the second and third lines. ... FINAL VERDICT: He gone.