Few players of his generation attained the profile Jeremy Roenick had, and still has thanks to his platform as a national broadcast analyst. The question is whether having a lofty profile and being unafraid to say whatever appeals to him -- regardless of whether he has to apologize later for those comments or not -- helps buoy his chances of being a Hall of Famer, because on the ice his talents make this a difficult call.
The Case For
Roenick is among a group of players whose career numbers suggest the Hall of Fame when viewed from afar. Drafted 8th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks straight out of high school, Roenick had 1,213 points in 1,363 regular-season games while playing a tough-nosed style that also saw him collect 1,463 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, he collected an impressive 53 goals and 122 points in 154 games through his 18-year career. He had a stellar international career as a junior and won a silver medal with Team USA in Salt Lake City in 2002, collecting five points in six games on the way to the U.S. losing to Canada in the gold-medal game. He was also with the U.S. team that finished second at the 1991 Canada Cup and was named to the all-tournament team. Three times in his career, Roenick topped the 100-point mark and twice scored more than 50 goals. Always a fan favorite, Roenick was also highly regarded for his charitable and humanitarian work.
The Case Against
Roenick advanced to the Stanley Cup finals just once in 18 seasons, in 1992 when his Blackhawks were swept by Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Internationally, Roenick was not part of the seminal U.S. victory in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, sitting out the competition won by the U.S. in a thrilling final against Canada because he was between contracts. Roenick won no major awards as a player, and while he had a sterling career, at no point could he have been considered one of the top three or four forwards in the game. Further, as his career wound down, Roenick was more frequently in the news for outrageous statements or actions, such as leaving the Phoenix Coyotes when he was a healthy scratch and watching a game in a Vancouver restaurant/bar, and being in poor condition despite being paid handsomely.
Maybe in some folks’ minds Jeremy Roenick is a Hall of Famer, but when it comes to our Hall, he remains outside the threshold.
ESPN panel: 82 percent voted into Hockey Hall of Fame.