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Penguins sign prospect Sundqvist

NHLI via Getty Images
Oskar Sundqvist, the 81st overall pick by the Penguins, poses for a portrait during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on June 23, 2012, at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

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Saturday, May 31, 2014, 10:39 a.m.
 

As interim general manager, Jason Botterill has not been granted permission to negotiate contracts with Penguins free agents.

He has been negotiating contracts, though.

Forward Oskar Sundqvist signed an entry-level contract, Botterill said in a news release Saturday. The deal is for three years. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sundqvist, 20, was a third-round pick (81st overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Penguins would have lost his rights had he not signed by Sunday.

Sundqvist produced six goals and 16 points in 51 games for Skelleftea AIK in Sweden's top professional league this past season.

Already, he has flashed a knack for producing in big moments. He scored four goals in 13 playoff games this past season and also scored twice in seven games for Sweden's silver-medal squad at the 2014 World Junior Championship tournament.

Sundqvist was viewed as one of the Penguins' top prospects — especially at forward — when Ray Shero was general manager.

Shero was fired May 16, and the search for his successor is ongoing and is being spearheaded by CEO David Morehouse, who reports to majority co-owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux.

Botterill, who had spent the past five seasons as Shero's assistant, is a candidate for the full-time job, Morehouse said.

The Penguins would like to have a general manager in place by sometime next week, though Morehouse has not commented publicly on the search. Since Shero was fired, hockey operations staffers have not been permitted to speak publicly on team matters.

The new general manager will be tasked with evaluating the hockey operations department, including the coaching staff, Morehouse said.

Coach Dan Bylsma and his assistants remain under contract. Bylsma, who has more regular-season and playoff wins than any coach in franchise history, had two years left on a contract that pays him more than $2 million annually.

Shero also had two years left on his contract. His deal paid about $3 million annually.

The NHL Entry Draft is June 27-28, and club executives generally use the draft to work on potential trades and possible new contacts for their own free agents. Free agency begins July 1.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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