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Penguins GM says Sprong will be on squad next season

Daniel Sprong celebrates Friday after scoring his first goal of the 2016-17 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season.
Daniel Sprong celebrates after scoring his first goal of the 2016-17 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. - Jason Malloy

PITTSBURGH – Daniel Sprong is going to get his shot in the NHL next year.

The Pittsburgh Penguins kept the Charlottetown Islanders graduate in the minors for most of the year and he responded by scoring a club-rookie record 32 goals for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It didn't earn him a promotion during the post-season. That likely won't be the case next season, when the 21-year-old right-winger will be given every chance to make the team out of camp.

“He will be a regular on our team,” general manager Jim Rutherford said Wednesday.

So will Rutherford. The 69-year-old famously said he might only be around a handful of seasons when he took over in the spring of 2014. Now it appears he's not headed anywhere.

“I think the best answer is I may be around longer than you guys,” he said with a laugh.

Sprong, an Amsterdam native, played parts of four seasons with the Islanders after being drafted 13th overall in the 2013 draft. The Penguins selected him in the second round (46th overall) in the 2015 NHL draft.

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