Coyotes bolster offense with Sullivan signing

The Phoenix Coyotes took a first step toward filling the offensive void lost through Ray Whitney’s departure by signing veteran forward Steve Sullivan to a one-year contract.

Sullivan, 37, had 17 goals, 31 assists last season in 79 games with Pittsburgh. He ranked sixth on the Penguins in scoring.

“Steve is an intelligent player who adds skill to our lineup and will help improve our power play,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. “He is a great addition to our roster.”

Whitney, a second-team All-NHL wing in 2011-12 and the Coyotes’ leading scorer, left via free agency for a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars. The Coyotes also lost free-agent forward Taylor Pyatt, who signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers.

Sullivan, 5-feet-9 and 161 pounds, is a 15-year NHL veteran with Pittsburgh, Nashville, Chicago, Toronto and New Jersey. He’s scored 20 or more goals eight times in his career and set career highs in goals (34) and points (75) with Chicago in 2000-01. He spent six seasons in Nashville before joining Pittsburgh.

In 2009, he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.