Penguins relinquish rights to prospects Bathgate, Ekbom

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The Penguins will relinquish their rights to two prospects, center Andy Bathgate and defenseman Viktor Ekbom.

Both were 2009 draft choices and had to be signed by June 1 if the Penguins wanted to hold onto them. They will go into the talent pool for the draft June 24-25 in St. Paul, Minn.

Bathgate, a fifth-round choice and grandson of Penguins Hall of Famer Andy Bathgate, had 25 goals and 35 assists in 64 games with Belleville of the Ontario Hockey League this season. He was scoreless in two games with the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.

He was injured several times in recent seasons, and Penguins officials suggested in December that Bathgate's absence from the lineup made it difficult to assess his pro potential.

"Andy Bathgate hasn't played much hockey for a while," assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald said then. "You look at his numbers, and say, 'Well, geez, he should be doing this or that. He's a first-line center.'

"But he hasn't played much hockey. He's a tough kid to project because of the lack of games he's played over the last 2 1/2 years because of his shoulder injury."

Ekbom was a sixth-rounder who played for Linkoping in Sweden's Elitserien. He had no goals and eight assists in 96 games there over the past two seasons and did not get a point in a three-game stint with Wilkes-Barre this year.

Dave Molinari: .


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