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Berg, Leafs talk contract

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Berg may be close to siging a contract.

Graig Abel Photography
by John McCauley

TORONTO -- After the acquisition of Robert Svehla for Dmitry Yushkevich, the Leafs have just one remaining player with a contract issue in need of resolution.

Aki Berg will have his case heard in front of an arbitrator on Aug. 5, unless a deal can be worked out with the Leafs before that time. Settling is in the best interests of both parties.

"Neither party wants to go that far," Leafs assistant to the president Bill Watters told the Toronto Sun. "I think it's resolvable."

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenceman had a goal and 10 assists in 81 games last season.

Watters said he expects to talk again with Larry Kelly, Berg's agent, in the next couple of days. A deal could be announced by the end of the week if all goes well.

STOCKING THE FARM

Losing its leading scorer and all-time games played leader isn't going to help the St. John's Maple Leafs but the hunt for replacements is on.

Don MacLean, who recorded 33 goals and 54 assist, signed a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets ending his one-year relationship with the Leafs. Nathan Dempsey joined the Chicago Blackhawks after eight seasons on the Rock.

Neither player is going to be easy to replace.

"That's an on-going area," Watters said. "We are talking to a lot of people about insurance players, guys who play some games when there are injuries."
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