Toronto Maple Leafs: From Draft Reject to the Big Leagues

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse
Toronto Maple Leafs

MONTREAL, QC – APRIL 28: Jake Muzzin #8 of the Toronto Maple Leafs . (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Adam Brooks and The Toronto Maple Leafs

With high hopes for the 2017-18 season, Brooks would get to know the Toronto Maple Leaf’s organization while playing in the AHL with the Marlies.

Under future NHL Head Coach Sheldon Keefe, Brooks would appear in 57 games and put up 19 points. Brooks would also play in all 20 playoff games that year before helping capture the Marlies’ AHL Championship.

From his time in junior, we already knew Brooks could score and it would come sooner or later at the professional level. But what we also would see was his versatility. Playing up and down the lineup, on the power play, short-handed; wherever Keefe needed him, he would be.

The following year Brook’s numbers would climb. He would finish the 2018-19 season with 21 goals and 40 points over 61 games prior to finally getting his opportunity the next season.

In the 2019-20 season, the 23-year-old Brooks would play the majority of the season in the AHL before getting the call from recently new NHL coach Sheldon Keefe. From late December into  January, Brooks would play in 7 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He would score his first NHL point in a 6-3 win in Winnipeg, a Hockey Night In Canada game, and the first game in his hometown. It was a game I was lucky enough to attend. Not only did I remember the win, but I remembered Brooks. He would play just over 7 minutes that night but if there was one thing I remembered about his game was the level of compete he brought at all times on the ice. And it’s been apparent since then that every time I watch him, that compete is there.

This season, Brooks has been up and down between the NHL and the AHL. Brooks would go on to score his first NHL goal in a win in Edmonton early in the season, a moment he will never forget.

Through the month of April, Brooks has made a name for himself in the bottom six. Most notably over the last few games on a line with Future Hall of Famers Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton.

Sheldon Keefe had this to say when asked about Brooks on Saturday Morning,

“He’s doing what you want young players to do, which is don’t give the coach a reason to take you out, to control what you can control. No matter how much you’re playing, go out and be effective and show that you’re bringing value.”

As mentioned earlier, it’s the effort and the versatility that make Brooks a valuable player. He’s been playing upwards of 11 minutes a night the last couple of games and been making even more of a statement. Relentless on the forecheck, not afraid to go into the hard spots to play in, and always hard on the backcheck. Someone that nearly anyone in the NHL would like to have their disposal. Remind you of anyone..? Maybe a Hyman type?

Regardless, the Leafs and their staff love Brooks. It took some time for him to get here, but now that he’s here we cannot complain. He has been a diamond in the rough and this diamond sure has a bright future ahead of him.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse