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Steve Sullivan deserves shot at permanent Arizona Coyotes GM job

The former NHL player has taken interim charge of the team.

Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Assistant General Manager Steve Sullivan has taken interim charge of the Arizona Coyotes, following John Chayka’s official resignation.

Per the team’s official statement, Sullivan has been named interim General Manager until the team appoints someone to the position permanently, but the former NHL forward deserves a serious chance at the job himself.

Sullivan is well known within the Coyotes organization, having previously spent a 33-game spell as a player before joining them off the ice during the 2014/15 season.

As a player, Sullivan had a very respectable career, racking up 1011 regular-season appearances and registering 747 total points (290 goals, 457 assists) while playing for teams such as the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators.

Over the past six years, the Timmins, Ontario native has held several roles with the organization, working as a development coach and Director of Player Development before settling into the role of Assistant General Manager of the Coyotes, combined with the role of General Manager of the team’s AHL affiliates, the Tucson Roadrunners.

The 46-year-old worked closely with Chayka over the past three years but dedicated the majority of his time to building a truly competitive development team for the NHL team.

In his three seasons with the Roadrunners, the team won two Pacific Division titles (17/18, 19/20) and were competing at the top of the division before a late-season slip saw them miss the playoffs.

During those three seasons, the Roadrunners have a combined record of 112-65-17, reaching the second round of the playoffs after the 2017/18 season, overcoming the San Jose Barracuda before falling to eventual Calder Cup runners-up the Texas Stars.

Working with veterans and prospects on the fringe of making the NHL roster, Sullivan has helped the Roadrunners become a respectable franchise in the AHL and has given the Coyotes organization a glimpse into what he is capable of.

His many years working for the team, both on and off the ice, will have set Sullivan up well to take on the role of General Manager on a permanent basis.

There are many other people currently available that have already had the experience within the NHL, including Peter Chiarelli and Ray Shero, but the Arizona Coyotes should give someone fresh an opportunity at the role, with his proven track record in the minors as well as his familiarity with the organization both strong arguments in his favor.