Hockey: Cunningham assigned to AHL

Craig Cunningham will start the season in the American Hockey League after the Arizona Coyotes’.

Craig Cunningham will start the season in the American Hockey League after the Arizona Coyotes’ assigned the Warfield native to their affiliate Springfield Falcons on Sunday.

Cunningham, who signed a two-way contract with the Coyotes in June, was one of 11 players moved, as the Coyotes cut their roster down to 31 skaters

“With Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Dylan Strome, Henrik Samuelsson, newcomer Matthias Plachta and the strong play of Jordan Martinook all competing for the opening day roster, plus the need to get our established NHL players ready for the regular season, (coach) Dave Tippett and I feel this is the prudent decision,” said Arizona GM Don Maloney.

Cunningham, a 2010 fourth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins, was traded to the Coyotes last season, and played 32 games with Boston in 2014-15 before lacing them up for 19 games with the Coyotes to end the season.

Joining the 25-year-old former Beaver Valley Nitehawk in Springfield are forwards Tyler Gaudet, Lucas Lessio, and Brendan Shinnimin, defenceman Dakota Mermis,  and goaltenders Marek Langhamer and Niklas Treulte.

Assigned to the Ontario Hockey League were Christian Dvorak, London Knights, and 2014 first-round draft pick Brendan Perlini to the Niagara Ice Dogs.

Defenceman Keith Aulie and forward Patrick Dwyer were released.

The Coyotes still need to cut nine more players before the  start of the NHL season on Oct. 9 against the L.A. Kings.

Arizona is winless in its four preseason matches, which include a 1-0 loss to Vancoerver Canucks on Monday and a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. The Coyotes finish off exhibition play with a game against the San Jose Sharks on Friday.