Prior to his coaching career, Cunniff played professionally in the AHL and ECHL as well. His career garnered him 268 games between the 2 leagues where he notched 38 goals and 44 assists, with 555 penalty minutes playing forward. He was never drafted, but was picked up by the Devils organization, although he never got a sniff of NHL action.
Cunniff was an in-house move and isn't surprising given the circumstance. I wouldn't expect he would bring anything new to an Iowa Wild team that has struggled much of the season. His experience is a big plus for the team though, and their familiarity with him and his personality certainly won't hurt either.