First, he was Mr. Clutch. A day later, he was Mr. Hockey. On June 25th, he could become Mr. Sleeper.
Eden Prairie forward Kyle Rau could very well end up that off-the-board pick that pays dividends for the team that selects him in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in his home state in a month’s time.
“Rau has a chance to be a steal for a team that thinks he can overcome his lack of size and produce at the NHL level,” Future Considerations chief scout Dan Stewart said. “Rau is one of those rare players that desires to be a hockey player so badly that he will likely will himself in a long professional career.”
Ranked 138th by Future Considerations’, the five-foot-eight, 165-pound centre has displayed big offensive talent this season.
With 41 goals and 81 points on the season, Rau was named Mr. Hockey, an honour bestowed upon the top high school hockey player in the Land of 10,000 lakes. The Eden Prairie native capped his season with a Class 2A state championship by scoring the game winning goal in the final in triple overtime.
Not bad for a player who wasn’t expected to be with the club. Rau had planned to forgo his senior season to play with Sioux Falls of the USHL. Instead he opted to return for his final year. Not a bad choice for the University of Minnesota recruit.
The downside on Rau? He’s a sub-six-foot forward who weighs just 165-pounds. Still, his size is something that Stewart thinks Rau will eventually overcome.
“He does not play like a five-foot-eight forward, but instead takes the puck to the net and plays with a gritty edge,” Stewart said. “An expert at finding open ice, he is also very dangerous with the puck on his stick using darting lateral agility to elude defenders and create offensive chances by changing angles and opening lanes.”
And those skills could translate Mr. Hockey to Mr. Sleeper on draft day.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!