Chad Rau's sensational season led to the USHL’s Rookie of the Year honor in 2004-05. He led the Buccaneers in virtually every offensive category including points (71), goals (31), assists (40) and power play goals (12). His 71 points also led all USHL rookies. One statistic that is perhaps the most telling of all about Rau’s importance to Des Moines was the fact that he averaged nearly 1.25 points per game while the rest of the team averaged less than half a point. Rau was the lone USHL player to be a part of Team USA’s gold-medal winning squad at the recent IIHF World U-18 Championship in the Czech Republic. Rau’s season performance earned him numerous honors including selections to the All-USHL First and All-Rookie Teams. He also earned a selection to the USHL Prospects/All-Star game but did not play due to his participation in the Five Nations Tournament in Sweden, where helped propel Team USA to victory. Rau was chosen in the seventh round, 228th overall, of the 2005 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
2005-06: Displayed impressive offensive talents during his freshman season with the Colorado College Tigers. He ended his first season with 30 points in just 47 games, building upon the offensive success he enjoyed in Des Moines of the USHL.
2006-07: As a sophomore, he tallied 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in 39 games. He led Colorado College in faceoff win percentage last season and led the team with 18 power play points. His ability to step up at critical times in the game is his best attribute, as evidenced by the fact that he factored in on eight game-winning goals (one goal, seven assists).
2007-08: This season marked Rau’s third with Colorado College (WCHA) and was his most productive yet. He earned second-team All-America honors after leading the nation with six shorthanded goals, including one in all four of CC’s meetings against Wisconsin. Rau was a first-team All-WCHA selection whose 28 tallies overall ranked first among league players. He was one of 11 Tigers named to the All-WCHA Academic Team and winner of the annual M.B. Hopper Award as the team’s top point’s producer, with 42, while becoming the 71st member of Colorado College’s elite “Century Club.” He scored twice or more in a game on nine occasions and posted a career-best point-scoring streak of 16 consecutive games between early November and mid January. A serious threat in the circle, he won better than 55 percent of his faceoffs.
2008-09: Rau was the leading scorer for Colorado College and was named to the NCAA West Second and WCHA First all-star teams. Rau scored 18 goals with 19 assists and was +1 with 6 PMs in 38 games. Colorado College finished tied for third in the WCHA but did not receive an NCAA at-large bid after losing in the first round of the WCHA tournament. Rau, a 2005 draft pick of the Maple Leafs, was not signed to a contract by Toronto and became an unrestricted free agent.
2009-10: Rau signed an AHL contract with the Houston Aeros and skated in 79 of 80 games as a first-year pro. His 19 goals were third-most on an offensively-challenged Aeros team and he had 19 assists with a -2 plus/minus and 7 PMs. The Aeros missed the playoffs; finishing last in the West Division. The Wild signed Rau to a two-year, entry-level contract in May 2010.
2010-11: Rau skated in 60 of 80 games for the Aeros in his second season; missing time early in the season due to injury. He was the team's fifth-leading scorer with 13 goals and 27 assists and was +10 with 12 PMs. In the AHL playoffs he skated in all 24 games as the Aeros reached the Calder Cup finals. He scored 6 goals with 3 assists and was -7 with 2 PMs. Rau scored 3 of his 6 playoff goals on the power play.
2011-12: Rau made his NHL debut in his third pro season – skating in 9 games with the Wild while spending most of the season with Minnesota AHL affiliate Houston. He scored a goal in his first NHL game – a January 21st game against Dallas – and finished minus-one with 2 goals; averaging almost 11 minutes of ice time. He scored 14 goals with 21 assists and was plus-six with 2 penalty minutes in 67 games for the Aeros. Houston finished fourth in the West Division; falling to Oklahoma City in four games in a best-of-five first round playoff series. In four playoff games Rau was minus-three with 2 penalty minutes.
Des Moines assistant coach Brad Frattaroli’s insights on Rau: “Chad is definitely a natural goal-scorer. He has that game breaking ability. He’s got a good and quick release that’s pretty accurate. He’s got a knack for being in the scoring areas and being able to quickly get his shots off. He’s also a creative goal scorer. He can score from pretty much anywhere in the offensive zone. Chad isn’t a bad skater but he could improve his first couple of steps. Once Chad gets going, he’s fine, but it’s just that initial burst of speed that he needs to improve on. Chad leads by example and is the type of player who can jump start his team if necessary. He’s very smart and can make things happen.”
Des Moines head coach Regg Simon’s insights on Chad Rau: “Chad has great hockey sense in the offensive zone and around the net. He’s able to put himself in positions to score. There’s no question that he carried our team offensively. We lived and died by Chad Rau for much of last season. He was very durable and, especially being a marked man for us, was able to still carry our team. Chad plays a lot bigger than his 5’11/175 lbs. frame. He’s a strong 5’11. His weight will come with some age and maturity. I don’t see size ever being a factor with Chad. He’s got a big enough heart and he’s a strong enough competitor that the height issue rarely factors in. I would venture to guess that with his tremendous work ethic and the skills that he’ll bring to the team Chad will find a way to get into the Colorado College lineup right away.”
Rau was dealt by the Minnesota Wild to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Curt Gogol in February of 2014.