Panthers ink Gophers forward Kyle Rau to entry-level contract

Minnesota's Kyle Rau holds the the Big Ten Championship trophy after the 4-2 win against Michigan on March 21.

Rick Osentoski/AP

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers have signed University of Minnesota forward Kyle Rau to an entry-level contract, the team announced Sunday.

"We are very pleased to have agreed to an entry level contract with Kyle," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a release. "He played extremely well at the University of Minnesota, leading the Gophers to back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championships and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He is another one of our young and talented prospects who is prepared to take the next step in his hockey career."

Rau, 22, recorded 20 goals and 41 points in 39 games during his senior season with the Gophers while also serving as captain. He notched 67 goals and 164 points in 160 career collegiate contests, becoming the first player to reach the 150-point mark with Minnesota since Troy Riddle in 2004.

Prior to joining the Gophers, Rau was the recipient of the 27th Annual Mr. Hockey Award, given to the outstanding senior boy’s high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota.

A third-round pick, 91st overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft, Rau is a former teammate and roommate of Panthers center Nick Bjugstad, who played three seasons at Minnesota. The two have remained close friends since Bjugstad’s departure to the NHL in 2012.

Rau will report to San Antonio (AHL) on an amateur try-out.

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