The Toronto Maple Leafs have an excellent prospect pipeline.
Patience is a word that fits Adam Brooks hockey career and the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to prosper from that fortitude.
After being passed over for two years of NHL Draft eligibility, Brooks was taken 92nd overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
In a 2017 interview with CTV, Brooks recounted his thoughts of not being drafted two years in a row:
“After my first two years being passed over, I didn’t think I’d be drafted…My 18-year-old year I thought maybe a team would see the improvements and take a chance, it was a little disheartening to see nothing happen. Going into my 19-year-old year I wanted to go out and prove that I could play professional hockey one day and show people it wasn’t just a fluke that I made improvements.
Despite having two years of 30-plus goals for the Regina Pats, teams still were weary about drafting him. It wasn’t until his monster season of 38 goals, 82 assists and 120 points that Toronto came knocking.
Brooks responded after that 120-point season showing everyone it wasn’t a fluke by scoring 43 goals, with 87 assists and 130 points.
With his junior eligibility finished, it was time for Brooks to enter professional hockey with the Toronto Marlies.
After scoring at will in the Western Hockey League, it was a hard transition for the kid from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Brooks kicked off his New Years celebrations early on December 31st, 2017, scoring his first career professional goal in a 5-1 win against the Belleville Senators.
The look on Travis Dermott and Justin Holl’s face shows the excitement and happiness for their teammate in the clip below.
That goal lifted Brooks spirits and propelled him as an everyday player on a stacked Marlies roster.
Typically paired on a line with Trevor Moore and Mason Marchment in the AHL Calder Cup playoffs, the three had great chemistry and were extremely effective during the playoff run.
Brooks even chipped in an assist in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals, as his team went onto to win the Calder Cup in his first professional season.
With one pro season under his belt, the 2018-19 season was another great learning session for him, as he was given top-six minutes.
Scoring 21 goals, 19 assists and 40 points in the regular season, Brooks continued to get better as the year progressed, even chipping in six goals in 13 playoff games, as the Marlies lost in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Although Brooks is older than Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, that shouldn’t be a knock on the 23 year old. Andreas Johnsson, Pierre Engvall, and Zach Hyman are all players for example that have came into the Leafs system at that age and have proved their worth.
With Sheldon Keefe’s understanding of Brooks skill set, it makes perfect sense that the Toronto Maple Leafs have called Brooks up to take a look at at him, however it’s unclear when he’ll get his first NHL start.
Brooks is a player that’s used to waiting. However, look for him to strike when that opportunity comes, just like he’s done every step of the way.