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Berg Is Latest Disappointment Traded

March 14, 2001|HELENE ELLIOTT

Closing another chapter in a sorry history of drafting and developing players, the Kings traded defenseman Aki Berg to the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday for center Adam Mair and a second-round draft pick in June.

The Kings chose Berg third in 1995--ahead of Jarome Iginla and Petr Sykora, among others--but became disenchanted with his inconsistency. He played 47 games this season and had four points, 43 penalty minutes and a plus-three defensive rating.

Of their first-round picks from 1990-99, only goalie Jamie Storr, chosen seventh in 1994, is with them. Darryl Sydor (seventh in 1990) was traded to Dallas, and Olli Jokinen (third in 1997) and Mathieu Biron (21st in 1998 with a pick acquired from Colorado) went to the New York Islanders in the Ziggy Palffy trade. The Kings traded their first-round picks in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1999.

Mair, 22, had 18 goals, 45 points and 69 penalty minutes with the Maple Leafs' American Hockey League affiliate in St. John's, Canada. He was sent to Lowell of the AHL until his immigration papers are approved, but he's expected to join the team this weekend and be slotted into the third line.

"He'll bring an element of grit and character. He's a competitive player," General Manager Dave Taylor said. "With him and Adam Deadmarsh added to the team the last couple of weeks, he'll give us a physical presence."

Taylor, who made his big move last month when he traded Rob Blake and Steven Reinprecht to Colorado for Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, a prospect and two draft picks, spoke to the Buffalo Sabres about fiery center Michael Peca "but we weren't close." Eric Lindros, he added, "didn't call us."

Coach Andy Murray said the progress of Lowell defensemen Mike Pudlick and Andreas Lilja made the trade possible.

The Kings also assigned Marko Tuomainen to Lowell and Scott Thomas to Manitoba of the International Hockey League.


at San Jose, 7:30, Fox Sports Net

* Site--San Jose Arena.

* Radio--KSPN (1110).

* Records--Kings 31-27-10-1, Sharks 35-22-11-1

* Record vs. Sharks--0-1.

* Update--Deadmarsh, out three games because of a bruised hand, and defenseman Mathieu Schneider, sidelined eight games because of a groin strain, will return. Winger Nelson Emerson is doubtful because his wife was about to give birth. Despite a 2-6-1-1 slump, the Sharks will record their first .500 finish in their 10-season history. Defenseman Bryan Marchment will begin a three-game suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on Montreal's Martin Rucinsky, but Brad Stuart will return from a two-game suspension.

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