The Edmonton Oilers have acquired defenceman Mark Fraser in exchange for forward Teemu Hartikainen and Cameron Abney.
In 19 games with the Maple Leafs this season, the 27-year-old Fraser has notched one assist and a minus-8 rating with 33 penalty minutes.
He is currently on a one-year deal worth $1.275 million and is eligible for unrestricted free agency at season's end.
"Mark's been a real good soldier for us and to be able to move a veteran player to an organization that wants them I think is a great thing," Leafs assistant general manager Claude Loiselle told TSN. "Secondly, cap-wise, we're in a situation where we need to create space, because of the guys who are coming off, Bolland particularly, and then Smitty [Trevor Smith]. In the past, previously, we had John-Michael Liles, who gave us $925,000 in cap space when he went down and with Tim Gleason playing up we don't have that luxury so we had to make a move."
The deal frees up more than $1 million in salary cap space for the Leafs, according to Capgeek.com. It may be enough to get injured Centre Dave Bolland off the long-term injured reserve once a couple players are assigned to the Marlies.
Hartikainen, 23, is currently playing with Ufa in the Kontinental Hockey League where he has scored 13 goals and 14 assists in 43 games.
"He wants to play in the NHL," Loiselle said. "He's probably a third-line player, competes hard, hard on the puck and that our scouts think highly of. He has an out in his contract in the KHL so that's good."
The Leafs plan to keep Hartikainen in Russia, while they will likely assign Abney to either the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League or the East Coast Hockey League's Orlando Solar Bears.
The Finnish forward last played for the Oilers in 2012-13 when he scored one goal and two assists in 23 games. It was the final season of his three-year, entry-level deal with the Oilers.
He was originally selected in the sixth round (163rd overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and has scored six goals and seven assists in 52 career games with the Oilers.
Abney - an Oilers 2009 third-rounder - has scored two goals and three assists with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL. He has never appeared in an NHL game.
The Maple Leafs acquired Fraser in a 2012 trade that saw them send forward Dale Mitchell to the Anaheim Ducks. In 162 career NHL games with the Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils, he has scored three goals and added 14 assists.