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Maple Leafs a possible Hawks trade partner?
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/9/2009 11:59 PM | Updated: 7/10/2009 6:48 AM

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have a glut of defensemen and need scoring.

The Blackhawks have an abundance of forwards, some of whom general manager Dale Tallon has admitted he would consider trading for the right defenseman.

Is there a deal to be done between Tallon and Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke? There are rumors of talks between the two men, some suggesting the Hawks might be interested in defenseman Tomas Kaberle.

While Kaberle doesn't fit the description of the kind of stay-at-home defenseman Tallon said he is seeking, the 31-year-old Czech is an excellent puck mover, a top power-play point man and dependable defender. Kaberle, who has averaged 52 points in his last four seasons in Toronto, carries a $4.25 million cap hit and is signed through 2010-11. Coincidentally, Kaberle's cap hit is just a bit more than Patrick Sharp's $4 million hit.

Burke was quoted in Thursday's Toronto Sun as saying he hoped to "parlay a defenseman into a forward."

But in the next breath, Burke didn't sound convinced he would make a deal involving Kaberle.

"If I had to handicap this, I'd say he will be a Leaf at the start of the year," Burke said. "That can change with one phone call."

It's not likely Burke would be looking to deal defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who he just signed as an unrestricted free agent.

The Leafs traded for hitter Garnet Exelby earlier in the summer, and he might fit the description of what the Hawks are looking for in a defenseman.

World of potential: Akim Aliu's bursts of speed have opened some eyes at this week's prospects camp.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Aliu could be a sleeper when it comes to making the club at training camp.

"He's got world class speed and skill and size," Dale Tallon said. "It's just a matter of controlling that and his positional play has to be better, just those little nuances of being a pro.

"In junior he probably did a lot of one-on-one stuff, but in the pros you've got to be more team oriented and do the little things. It just comes with maturity and experience, but he's got a lot of speed and skill. It's just a matter of harnessing it in the right direction."

Like Kyle Beach, Aliu has had maturity issues in his past.

"I think I've matured as a person and a player," Aliu said.

Tip-ins: Coach Joel Quenneville is expected to watch the scrimmages today on the final day of prospects camp at Johnny's Ice House ... The Hawks will hold Marian Hossa's introductory press conference Thursday, leading into the start of their fan convention on July 17 the Hilton Chicago ... The NHL likely will announce the 2009-10 schedule next Wednesday or Thursday.