The Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs connected on a trade as the Predators announced they have traded forward Miikka Salomaki to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Ben Harpur. While neither has made much of a mark on their NHL teams this year, each team bolstered their depth for their upcoming playoff run.
This deal is more likely to satisfy each team’s AHL squad. The 26-year-old Salomaki is a player who has plenty of NHL experience, but has struggled to find a full-time role and never fulfilled the potential that made him a second-round pick in 2011. He appeared in a career-high 61 games for Nashville in 2015-16 and then again in 58 games in 2017-18, but in between spent most of his playing time with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL. This year, he has appeared in five games for the Predators with one goal, but has spent 41 games in Milwaukee with five goals and 15 points. He should provide some much needed wing depth for the Toronto Marlies, who have sent several of their top forwards to help with the Maple Leafs’ depth issues.
On the other hand, Harpur can add some depth for the Predators. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound blueliner has also struggled to realize his potential and has fared poorly with the Marlies as a third-pairing option there. The team picked him up as part of the offseason trade that saw the Toronto Maple Leafs send Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown and other parts to Ottawa for Cody Ceci and Harpur and other pieces as well. The 25-year-old hasn’t seen any NHL action this year and, according to The Athletic’s James Mirtle, has wanted out of Toronto for a while. He adds a big body for a Milwaukee team and can serve as emergency insurance in case Nashville’s defense suffers injuries. He has one goal and 11 points in 33 games with the Marlies.