Forward Tye McGinn is in an interesting spot with the Wolves.
Unlike the vast majority of his teammates, McGinn is a Wolves player on an AHL deal and not under contract with the Vegas Golden Knights. Because of that situation, there were times earlier this season when he was moved down the lineup to make room when the roster was full of Vegas players.
Wolves coach Rocky Thompson lauded how McGinn has handled everything that has come his way this season, saying he always plays an “honest” game.
“That’s just the nature of the American League. It’s a development league,” Thompson said. “But at the end of the day, I think he’s handled it the way a person should handle it. I’ve been in the same situation myself as a player, and the same situations happened. I know what he was going through. I can’t speak highly enough of how he’s played for us this year and how he’s dealt with situations like that.”
In January 2019, the Wolves acquired McGinn from the Manitoba Moose for future considerations. After a strong postseason, McGinn signed a one-year AHL deal in September to return.
It has proved to be a shrewd move.
As the Wolves’ lineup has been hit with injuries, the 29-year-old McGinn has been one of the steadiest players. Entering Thursday’s game against the Tucson Roadrunners, McGinn was fifth on the team with 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists), and his production has picked up recently since the roster was affected by more absences.
And when he’s asked about his role, McGinn sounds like a veteran with 89 NHL games under his belt.
“I think I’m just trying to be a good leader, do the little things properly out there and just show the younger guys that if you do the little things, then the offense comes along with it,” McGinn said. “Trying to focus on the defensive zone first, getting pucks out and just working hard every day and committing to working hard in practice, having fun in practice, but when the time comes, prepare and do those little things that help the team win.”
McGinn is doing that surrounded by players whose contract is with a different team. But that dynamic, he said, doesn’t come up a lot.
Instead, the focus is on getting wins.
“We’re all in the same locker room together,” McGinn said. “We’re all with the Chicago Wolves, and we’re focusing on just winning games when we put our jerseys on, and that’s a [Wolves logo on the front]. It doesn’t matter if you’re on an NHL, American League or ECHL [contract], if you’re in the locker room with me or a lot of the other guys, they probably think the same way.”
McGinn is not under contract for next season, and if he does come back to the Wolves, the locker room will look different because of an affiliation change. And while McGinn said he’d love to stick with the Wolves, he isn’t thinking that far ahead.
“We have a tight race to get into the playoffs right now, and that’s all we have to focus on,” McGinn said. “Just kind of let the chips fall after the season.”