Wasting no time: Gophers' Kyle Rau signs entry-level contract with Florida


University of Minnesota seniors Kyle Rau and Seth Ambroz aren't wasting any time to continue their hockey careers.

Just days after the Gophers were knocked out of the NCAA tournament, Rau signed an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers Sunday morning, the Panthers announced.

"We are very pleased to have agreed to an entry level contract with Kyle,” Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon said in a news 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," Tallon added.

During his career at the U, the two-time captain recorded 164 points (67 goals, 97 assists) in 160 games.

The all-American from Eden Prairie, who delayed his professional career a year so he could return to the University of Minnesota and play his senior year with the Gophers, will join the Panthers' AHL affiliate in San Antonio for an amateur tryout, the U of M reports.

The Panthers drafted Rau in the third round – 91st overall – in 2011. Rau was named Minnesota Mr. Hockey that same year.

Ambroz headed to Massachusetts

On Saturday, less than 24 hours after the Gophers' season ended, the Springfield Falcons announced Ambroz had inked a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets' AHL team for an amateur tryout.

He became the first to sign a pro contract in "what could be a busy offseason of signings for the Gophers' high-end talent," the Star Tribune reports.

The senior forward from New Prague finished his career with the gophers with 70 points (40 goals, 30 assists) in 159 games, the Gophers reported.

Ambroz will join former Gopher forward Mike Hoeffel on Springfield's roster. He'll wear No. 38, the U of M said.

Ambroz was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fifth round – 128th overall – of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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