Roenick, 26, who used to play youth hockey in Columbia, Md., is so interested in the Capitals that the free-agent center told a friend he probably is going to sign a deal to play with them.
"I wouldn't be surprised if the Capitals make an offer that will blow this whole thing out of the water," Roenick said. "I'm still thinking Phoenix, and I've had a few good talks with their people. But nothing's been finalized."
That's because Roenick, whose rights were traded from the Blackhawks to the Coyotes on Friday, hasn't signed a contract. Alexei Zhamnov, another free agent whose rights were traded from the Coyotes to the Blackhawks, also is without a contract.
The Capitals have been on the fringe of contending for a Stanley Cup for a few seasons, but never have made it. Acquiring Roenick, who has scored 50 goals or more twice and led Chicago in playoff scoring last season, would be a significant statement as they prepare to move into a new arena in Washington.
Roenick said he is scheduled to talk to the New Jersey Devils tomorrow.
Pub Date: 8/19/96