Kings May Take a Flyer on Roenick

Times Staff Writer

Jeremy Roenick, the veteran NHL center who is rarely at a loss for words, may be heading west, as the Kings are in discussions to acquire him from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Roenick, 35, became expendable after the Flyers signed Peter Forsberg on Wednesday, leaving Philadelphia over the $39-million salary cap. That could make the price for Roenick reasonable.

The Kings declined to comment, but a source familiar with the situation said that talks were underway and Roenick could be traded as soon as today. The Kings are unlikely to offer a top prospect in return.

Roenick, a nine-time All-Star, would probably be a short-term solution, as he has one year left on a contract that will pay him $4.94 million this season.


Roenick, who has 475 goals in his 16-year career, was resigned to being the odd man out with the Flyers, telling a Philadelphia radio station, “The Flyers have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup with Peter Forsberg than with Jeremy Roenick.”

The Kings are trying to beef up their offense, having signed forward Pavol Demitra on Tuesday. They are also talking with free agents Ziggy Palffy and Paul Kariya.

While Roenick’s offensive statistics have declined in each of the last four seasons, he remains a formidable player. He scored 19 goals for the Flyers in 2003-04 and ranks 41st on the NHL’s goal-scoring list.

His presence off the ice has also been high profile. Earlier this year, Roenick angered NHL Players’ Assn. leaders by being one of the first players to say they would be willing to accept a salary cap.

At a charity golf tournament in June, Roenick said about fans who blamed the players for the lockout, “We’re going to try to make it better for everybody, period, end of subject. And if you don’t realize that, then don’t come. We don’t want you at the rink, we don’t want you in the stadium, we don’t want you to watch hockey.”