Position: Center/Left Wing
Acquired: 91st Overall Pick in 2011
2015-16 Stats: Portland (AHL) 63 GP, 17 G, 14 A, 31 PTS and Florida (NHL) 9 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS
Kyle Rau and Rocco Grimaldi both play similar games. However only one of them could’ve stayed as the Cats shipped Rocco off to Colorado making Rau the only little fast guy. Rau is a fast skater and very small. I saw him play and he was really good at making opportunities happen but somehow stayed off the scoresheet in 9 games in the NHL. The Cats picked Rau over Grimaldi because he was gritter and better defensively. Rau also played at the University of Minnesota with fellow Panther Nick Bjugstad.
Road to the NHL: When Lawson Crouse was shipped off to Arizona, it became known that Rau would most likely be the guy to play in the empty spot on the bottom six at left wing. He will either play alongside Nick Bjugstad or Derek MacKenzie. I do think it will be a tough competition between him and Logan Shaw for the spot in the pros. Since Shaw is known to light up the AHL, Rau has to play good to keep his spot because we know Shaw will just be great in Springfield. I do like him better than Shaw though.
Projected NHL Arrival is 2016-17
NHL Future: Rau will likely be a regular third or fourth line winger but he can slide over to center in case of an injury and if Huberdeau or Jokinen get injured he could go play left wing up there. I think however Rau will never be a full time top liner and maybe a possible second liner but I think he will remain in the bottom six throughout his career.
Probability for Success: Now Rau is a hit or miss player but I don’t think he will get in the A category so his grade for success is between a B+ and a C+