The Wild re-signed two of their top minor league players, Kyle Rau and Matt Bartkowski, on Thursday in advance of free agency.
Rau’s one-year, two-way deal is worth the NHL minimum $700,000 if he’s with the Wild and $275,000 at Iowa, and would be prorated if he splits time during the season.
The 27-year-old former Eden Prairie and Gophers captain had 43 points in 51 games for Iowa last season, and has 92 goals in 307 career games in the American Hockey League. He has also played in 42 NHL games for Florida and the Wild, with two goals and three assists, while playing all three forward positions.
Chad Rau also played for the Wild, making the Raus the only set of brothers to skate for the team.
A veteran presence
Bartkowski, a 32-year-old defenseman, got a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $700,000 per year in the NHL or $325,000 in Iowa.
He played 55 games for Iowa last season, with two goals, 16 assists and 55 penalty minutes. He also hopped into the Wild lineup in the postseason, replacing an injured Ryan Suter for a game against Vancouver.
Bartkowski has played 255 NHL games, with eight goals and 40 assists, with Boston, Vancouver, Calgary and the Wild, and been in 20 playoff games. He’s skated in 334 career AHL games with Iowa and Providence, and originally signed with the Wild as a free agent in 2018.
Comings and goings
Iowa’s leading scorer last season, Sam Anas, is an unrestricted free agent; its top scoring defenseman, Brennan Mennell, played five games for the Wild and is a restricted free agent, but decided to play this season in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, the AHL’s top goalie last season, is expected to compete for spot with the Wild this season; the other Iowa goalie, former Gopher Mat Robson, is an unrestricted free agent.