GLENDALE – Lost in the shuffle of the multiple transactions the Coyotes made last weekend leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline, were the acquisitions of Craig Cunningham and Tye McGinn off the waiver wire.
Needing depth at forward for the final six weeks of the season, the Coyotes secured the two young players and are giving them each a shot to show what they can do.
"I couldn’t be any more excited to be here," said Cunningham, who averaged about 13 minutes of ice time in his first two games with the Coyotes. "There’s a lot of good young players around here with some really good vets to learn from, and a lot of opportunity to establish yourself."
Cunningham, who has played 36 NHL games, is a gritty player looking to provide energy when he’s on the ice. In his first two games with Arizona he delivered eight hits.
"For me, it was important to figure out right away that if you can’t make it in the top six (forwards), you’ve got to be able to do the little things right to play in the bottom (six). That’s kind of the game I try to play," he said.
Cunnigham, 24, is good friends with Landon Ferraro, the son of Ray Ferraro. The former NHLer and current broadcaster opened his home in Vancouver to Cunningham after Cunningham’s father died tragically in a car accident when Craig was just five years old.
"I spent a lot of summers living in Ray’s basement and a lot of time on the ice with him," Cunningham said. "I can’t speak any higher of him. He was so good to me growing up. To be around a hockey mind like that and to have a guy like that cares for you is a huge advantage."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to read more about Cunningham from ESPN.com.
Like Cunningham, McGinn, 24, is trying to impress Coyotes management during this six-week audition.
"It’s a good opportunity for me… I just have to take it game by game and play my game. Hopefully it works out," said McGinn, who has 71 games on his NHL resume.
McGinn played 9:45 and 5:04 in his first two games with the Coyotes. On Thursday, he was credited with scoring a goal but officials later changed the goal to B.J. Crombeen and gave McGinn the primary assist instead.
McGinn grew up in a hockey family. His older brother Jamie is with the Colorado Avalanche and his younger brother Brock is in the Carolina Hurricanes system.
Regarding older brother Jamie, who is out for the season after back surgery in December, Tye said the two speak regularly.
"We talk every day pretty much," McGinn said. "He’s helped me out a lot in my career to get me where I am right now. He’s been great. I’m just trying to move that along to my little brother. We’re a close family. It’s nice."
• The Coyotes are playing the Montreal Canadiens tonight. The last time the teams played Arizona rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 on Feb. 1 with rookie goalie Louis Domingue in net making his NHL debut in his hometown.
After Friday’s practice, Head Coach Dave Tippett announced that Mike Smith would start against Montreal this time around. But Tippett said Domingue would play a few games for the Coyotes down the stretch.
"He’s the best prospect we have in our system at the goaltending position," Tippett said. "When he’s gotten in there he’s played very well… He’s a young pro that’s learning how to work and how to be a pro every day… His work in practice has been excellent. He’s just got to wait for his next opportunity to play… We think he has a great future."
• With Thursday's win over Vancouver, Don Maloney tied John Ferguson (654) for the most points by a general manager in franchise history.
• The Coyotes vs. Canadiens game will begin at 5 p.m. (AZ time) and not the usual 6 p.m. time on Saturday.