The Arizona Coyotes first acquired forward Craig Cunningham from the Boston Bruins during the 2014-15 season, when the club picked him up off of waivers midway through the year.
Since arriving with the Coyotes, Cunningham has been a successful depth option and good leader at the minor league level. He’s produced one goal and five points in a collective 29 NHL games for the Pacific Division club, then put up team-leading numbers at the AHL level with the Springfield Falcons; through 66 games in Springfield last year, the 25-year-old forward was good for a team-leading 22 goals and 46 points.
As a result, the Coyotes have made him their first extension of the offseason.
His deal isn’t quite as big of a splash as the trade Arizona made on Thursday, when new general manager John Chayka sent a fifth round pick to the Dallas Stars for the negotiating rights of defenseman Alex Goligoski. It’s a solid depth deal, though; per General Fanager, the center will make $600,000 at the NHL level and $200,000 at the AHL level, with $250,000 guaranteed.
The Coyotes have a large number of contracts that still need to be signed. Team captain Shane Doan is expected to come back for at least one more year on a free agent deal, while forward Tobias Rieder and defensemen Michael Stone and Connor Murphy are all considered important pending restricted free agents needing to be signed. This deal is just a blip on the team’s radar.
For a player who did well on an underperforming AHL team last year, though, this is a good move.