The Wild signed six players to two-way contracts that pay each $700,000 when they’re in the NHL:
Left winger Kyle Rau: The former Eden Prairie star and Minnesota Mr. Hockey is 24 and scored 67 goals and 164 points in 160 games during a four-year University of Minnesota career that included four regular-season conference championships, two runs to the NCAA Frozen Four and two years as captain. In 33 games with the Florida Panthers, Rau had two goals and an assist. His older brother, Chad, once was a Wild farmhand and scored two goals in nine games with the big club.
Defenseman Ryan Murphy: Taken 12th overall by Carolina in the 2011 draft, Murphy was an offensive wizard for Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League. NHL scouts still talk about his second season when he led all OHL defensemen with 26 goals and finished second to Windsor’s Ryan Ellis with 79 points in 63 games. The right-shot blue-liner hasn’t lived up to that as a pro yet (six goals, 37 points in 151 games for Carolina).
Center/right winger Landon Ferraro: The son of former NHL goal scorer Ray Ferraro, Ferraro, 25, signed for two years. He is a two-time 20-goal scorer in the AHL and has six goals and 11 points in 75 games for Detroit and Boston. He’s coming off a torn ACL. He’s fast and a terrific penalty killer. “I’m getting to the age now where I need to make it, or it’s kind of now or never,” Ferraro said. “It seems like a really good spot, a good opportunity for me. Coming off the injury that I had and all the rehab that I’ve done, it’s pretty safe to say I’m motivated going into this year and really excited to get moving.”
Center Cal O’Reilly: An older brother of Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly, the 25-year-old signed for two years. He has spent most his career journeying around the minors and has 16 goals and 49 points in 144 NHL games with Nashville, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Buffalo.
Defenseman Alex Grant: A right-shot, the 28-year-old originally was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005. He has scored two goals in seven NHL games with Anaheim and Arizona and spent last season with AHL Providence, amassing 17 goals and 49 points in 70 games.
Goaltender Niklas Svedberg: The 27-year-old Swede spent the past two years playing in the Kontinental Hockey League and will compete with Alex Stalock for the Wild backup job. In 2012-13 with Providence, Svedberg went 37-8-2 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. He went 8-5-1 with a 2.31 GAA and .920 save percentage in 19 games with the Boston Bruins. In the past two years playing for Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Svedberg went 43-36-16 with a .907 save percentage. Two years ago, he went 29-19-3 with a 2.37 GAA and .916 save percentage.