Ben Harpur, acquired in the Nikita Zaitsev - Cody Ceci trade showed himself to be not an NHL player in training camp. He’s remained on the Marlies since, and even with both Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren on the Leafs roster, he never climbed above the third pair on the Marlies. His primary utility was as a very tall man with a very long stick who could PK a little.
On the Milwaukee Admirals, farm team of the Nashville Predators, he’ll have less competition for ice time.
Meanwhile, the Leafs receive left wing Mikka Salomaki. Salomaki was drafted in the “Nick Robertson” spot by the Predators in 2011 at 52nd overall. He is now 26 and about to turn 27. He stayed in Finland after he was drafted until 2013, and he has spent his entire career since in the Nashville organization, playing mostly in the AHL.
Judging by his stats, he missed an entire season either stuck in the press box in waiver limbo or injured. He has played 167 NHL games with extremely poor points results, well down in Roman Polak territory for points per game at 0.16.
He was a modest scorer in the Liiga and was advertised a draft time as being physical and sometime undisciplined even though his height and weight makes him the standard small, zippy winger the Leafs favour. He does play some centre as well, and his AHL penalty minutes really don’t reflect that undisciplined tag.
This is almost certainly going to be an entirely AHL deal, and Salomaki is on an expiring one-way deal for $750,000. He will be a UFA this summer. Harpur is an RFA with arbitration rights, so the Leafs have punted a contract they didn’t really want to renew and a player who didn’t want to play in an organization he didn’t fit in for a useful AHL forward.
One further note: as this trade was announced on HNIC, the comment was that it had to have been finalized before Tyson Barrie left the game. While that’s absolutely true, the Leafs were never playing Harpur in the NHL, so that’s irrelevant.