If you were making a list of Maple Leafs players who you thought might be traded, Mike Brown probably would not have been on it.

Gritty, hardworking, versatile, and well-liked by his teammates, the fourth-line winger seemed to possess all the characteristics head coach Randy Carlyle holds in high regard.

So it came as a bit of surprise on Monday at the Air Canada Centre when news broke at the team’s morning skate that Brown had been dealt to the Edmonton Oilers for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft, a pick that could improve depending on how the Oilers fare.

In his 112 games over two-plus seasons with the Leafs, Brown did everything that was asked of him, including standing up for his teammates. He could not have done any more for the type of player he is. But, in the end, it didn’t matter — Brown became the victim of an increasingly deepening Leafs roster.

“At some point in the near future, we’re going to need to create a roster spot,” Leafs general manager Dave Nonis said as to why Brown was dealt. “We have some players with the Marlies we want to give a look to and we have some players who are hopefully coming off the IR (injured reserve list) in the near future. That coupled with Mike’s playing time — he had been in and out of the lineup, (coach) Randy (Carlyle) had used different line combinations — and we felt it was an opportune time to make the move for all those reasons.”

Nonis was talking of the imminent return of winger Matt Frattin, who had been one of the team’s most productive players with seven goals before experiencing problems with his surgically repaired knee, and also getting back team leader Joffrey Lupul from a broken arm in the not-too-distant future. The Leafs needed to clear roster space and sending Frattin, Korbinian Holzer or Leo Komarov, all of whom did not need to clear waivers, down to the Marlies was not palatable to them.