The Toronto Maple Leafs secured the services forward Adam Brooks with a two-year, two-way contract last week.
The contract breaks down as follows with the NHL salary carrying an average annual value of $725,000 with Brooks an RFA when it expires.
Year 1: $700K Base, $100K AHL, $175K Guaranteed
Year 2: $750K Base, $100K AHL, $250K Guaranteed
Toronto is still light at the center position throughout the organization, and giving Brooks a further two years to see if he has what it takes to make himself a viable NHL option seems like a prudent move — especially since the two-way deal means he won’t factor into the cap calculation should the Leafs decide to reassign the Winnipeg native to the Marlies.
Brooks is still a ways from proving himself worthy of holding down a regular spot in the Leafs line-up, which might be slightly concerning at the age of 24. There are some extenuating circumstances, though.
He’s continually been a late bloomer throughout his career and his time in the AHL has been blighted by injuries that have severely impacted his ice-time.
In 147 career AHL regular-season games with the Toronto Marlies, Brooks has registered 79 points (38 goals, 41 assists). A Calder Cup Champion in 2018, Brooks has recorded 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) in 33 playoff games.
Brooks announced himself fully in his second campaign with the Marlies during the 2018-19 season. Limited to 60 regular-season games, Brooks recorded 39 points (fifth in team scoring), 31 of which were primary markers, and 25 were accrued at even strength.
He also showed prowess on special teams, netting eight goals on the power-play (tied for second on the Marlies) and led Toronto with two short-handed goals, establishing himself as a viable option on the penalty kill.
The 2019-20 season was supposed to be Brooks’ coming out party, but it sadly never materialized due to the dreaded injury bug striking again.
20 points (9-11-20) in 29 games was enough to convince management that the 2016 draft selection was worthy of an emergency call-up when the big club was hit by an injury crisis of their own. Through seven games, the centerman registered three assists and seemingly gained a decent look from Sheldon Keefe at the NHL level — Brooks played 9:48 and 11:48 in his last two outings before being reassigned to the AHL.
While he may lack in the way of one leap-off-the-page NHL tool, Brooks has always been a slow burner dating back to his overage draft selection and he is hard to bet against based on work ethic and hockey IQ alone — he is a diligent, hard-working and well-respected player who is loved by coaches and teammates alike.
“I don’t think there was any guy in the room that could point a finger and say they don’t care for being around Brooksy,” said Marlies head coach Greg Moore .”He’s just a really good person, fun to be around, and he loves the game.”
“He got his first taste of the NHL this year and it was really impressive to see him thrive within those opportunities. When he came back, you could also see a level of confidence that he gained from that experience.”
If fully healthy, Brooks is expected to be one of Toronto’s ‘Black Aces’ should the 2019-20 NHL season finally resume.