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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Jeremy Roenick’s Agent Enters Contract Negotiations With Isles

Compiled From Wire Services

Jeremy Roenick hasn’t signed anything yet, but the Chicago Blackhawks’ star center said he’s close to a contract agreement potentially worth $35 million with the New York Islanders.

Roenick, 26, a restricted free agent, said his agent Neil Abbott last talked to Islanders general manager Mike Milbury Thursday.

“We threw numbers at them that would average $5 million over seven years,” Roenick said. “Mike Milbury has to decide what he wants to do.”

Milbury’s remarks in Saturday’s New York Post suggest he will decide quickly.

The Hawks could let Roenick go, receiving five first-round draft picks as compensation. But Hawks president Bill Wirtz has said the team will match any offer.

Roenick, who is the most talented restricted free agent available because of the way he can combine scoring, skating and hitting, has scored 100 points or more three times and 50 goals or more twice. Last season, he led the Hawks with 32 goals and finished with 67 points, second on the team to defenseman Chris Chelios, despite missing 16 games because of injury.

The Islanders are a surprise entrant in the Roenick derby, a competition generally thought to include well-heeled and/or contending franchises such as Florida, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Anaheim and perhaps Philadelphia. The fact they are not contenders now accounts for Roenick hiking his price an average of $500,000 a year.

Jack Button, a Washington Capitals executive credited with finding team standouts like Peter Bondra, Jim Carey and Michal Pivonka, has died of leukemia. He was 56.

On Aug. 23, Russia and the United States will play a World Cup game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Russia will be the home team.