If you've ever got a long layover at Houston's George Bush International airport, look no further than Robbie Earl for advice on where to go for a quick bite, or possibly a quiet area to catch a nap.
Earl was there often last season as a member of the Houston Aeros, and a six-time callup of the Minnesota Wild.
But the speedy winger wasn't complaining, as he was willing to do anything to earn a full-time roster spot. Those six flights were the result of Earl establishing himself as the Wild's most reliable reinforcement from Houston in a season filled with calls to the minor league club.
Earl made an immediate impact, scoring two goals in his second Wild game and finishing the year with six goals in 32 games, leading the team with a 20.7 shooting percentage. He provided energy and hustle as the Wild went 18-9-5 with him in the lineup.
The trust the unrestricted free agent built with the club earned him another contract with the Wild - a one-year, two-way deal. That means he can be sent to Houston at any time without having to clear waivers.
Earl will be among a handful of combatants for a final roster spot before the team heads to Finland to open the season. If Pierre-Marc Bouchard
is able to return to the lineup, the Wild has 12 forwards virtually assured of a roster spot. Earl figures to be in a mix with James Sheppard, Casey Wellman and Cody Almond
for an extra forward spot.