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.
I had one really not-good game. I came back to the hotel and he [his father] was on Skype. My mother called first and said, 'Your father wants to talk to you.' So he moved my mother away, and he yelled at me for like 30 seconds. I understood him, and then he said, 'I'm done.' And he was gone. The next game I got my first shutout.
— Anton Khudobin recalls a fond memory, explains why he was so sharp in the Hurricanes' 3-0 win against the Capitals on Friday