The simple fact is that the Toronto Maple Leafs came to believe Ben Harpur was never going to play serious minutes for the team. As a result, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas pulled the trigger on a trade that brought back left-winger Mikk Salomaki from the Nashville Predators.
On the face of it, the trade looks like one minor leaguer for another. After Harpur failed to make an impression with the Maple Leafs in their training camp, he was pushed down to the Toronto Marlies. And, until today, that’s where he’s stayed.
While Harpur failed to make even the top-four defensive pairings with the Marlies, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren have been called up and are currently getting ice time on the Maple Leafs roster. Harpur did some penalty killing with the Marlies, but that’s about all.
Related: Maple Leafs Acquire Denis Malgin from Panthers
Mikka Salomaki’s Background
Mikka Salomaki was drafted at #52 overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. At almost 27-years-old, when he wasn’t playing at home in Finland he, too, has spent time moving between the NHL and the AHL. He has played 167 NHL games but hasn’t scored well – racking up only 12 goals and 15 assists in those games.
In addition to playing as a right-winger, Salomaki also plays some center. He’s playing on the last season of a one-way deal for $750,000 and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season is concluded.
Harpur, on the other hand, has arbitration rights so the Maple Leafs have got rid of a contractual problem with a defenseman who had no chance to make the team and had a contract the team never wanted to renew.
Salomaki will likely stay with the Marlies; however, I don’t doubt that he’s the kind of depth player Dubas likes to keep in supply in the AHL just in case depth is needed with the big club.
Harpur would have never played with the Maple Leafs; Salomaki, on the other, hand might one day play a game or two with the big club.
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