The Leafs were playing for keeps with overagers on the second day of the 2016 NHL Draft.
After taking Yegor Korshkov, who is about to turn 20, 31st overall, the Leafs continued to target skilled older players when they chose diminutive scorer Adam Brooks of the Regina Pats 92nd overall.
Brooks, 20, is fresh off a historic playoff performance with the Regina Pats where he registered 23 points in just 12 games. This, after Brooks led the WHL in regular season scoring with 120 points in 72 games, besting the likes of top prospects Jayce Harywluk, Matthew Barzal and others.
At 5-10 and 174 pounds, Brooks fits into a pool of Leafs prospect that is already rife with undersize, talented forward. Mostly a centre, Brooks has also spent some time on the wing in his junior career. He was twice passed up, though he shouldn't have been last year, after he struggled in his draft year with just 11 points in 60 games playing behind Flames prospect Morgan Klimchuck and others in his second season in the WHL.
A First-Team WHL All-Star this season, Brooks was formerly a highly touted WHL talent who was taken 25th overall in the league's Bantam Draft.
Unlike many of the other Leafs picks of the first few rounds, Brooks represents a clear targeting of skill instead of size -- which is more in line with their selections at the 2015 NHL Draft than this year's.
Here's some of our notes at FC:
Brooks is a smaller forward who took huge strides forward as a ‘96 this year. He has great offensive smarts, and the hands and vision to exploit opportunities. He gets to the right spots in the offensive zone for both shooting opportunities as well as to take the pressure off his teammates by making himself available for a pass. He’s not a ashy guy, but more of the calm, calculated offensive force. Brooks is blessed with high-end vision and the ability to t pucks through the smallest of lanes. He uses his quick feet in tandem with his quick hands to explode through the tightest of lanes and generate separation to make a play. He will go into the gritty traf c areas, but is by no means a rough and tough player. Brooks is not a guy who just gives effort in the offensive zone as he has developed his defensive awareness over the past couple seasons. He is a player we have liked in the last two years, despite him struggling to stay in Regina’s top nine. But after being given a top-line role, he has really picked up his scoring. He was the WHL’s leading scorer and he plays a relentless two-way game. If he was a little bit bigger, we would have no doubts about him going inside the top three rounds, but for now, he is a later project guy.