The center ranked third in the league in goals and fourth in scoring for the Wild's AHL affiliate in Houston last year. The Wild have been looking for depth at center behind stalwart Mikko Koivu and Rau will get a chance with his hometown team.
The 23-year-old Rau grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie before going on to play at Colorado College. He was a seventh-round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2007 and signed a free agent deal with Houston before last season.
It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..
— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday