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FTB: what Adam Brooks can provide to the Leafs

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and Mats Sundin remains the GOAT.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Winnipeg Jets
WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 2: Mason Marchment #36, Adam Brooks #77, Zach Hyman #11 and Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs look on from the bench during second period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on January 2, 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Jets 6-3.
Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

Pending RFA Adam Brooks earned a two-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday after three developmental years with the Toronto Marlies and seven NHL games this season before the pause. You would know all this if you read Katya’s thorough article on the trade.

Since I had the FTB and nothing else to write about, I thought I would throw in my two cents as well.

In the AHL, Brooks is a talented operator through the middle of the ice; he is strong in the fundamentals of the game and amplifies the linemates on his wing. He’s tough on the body along the boards, clever and diligent away from the puck, and he’s got a creative side to him away from the puck that allows him to get into open spaces to both transition the puck and get it in the net.

He’s vital to a penalty kill, both on faceoffs and in formation, and he plays a good bumper on a power play. As a player who didn’t have the puck as much as his linemates (namely Mason Marchment and Jeremy Bracco), it’s good to see how effective he can be off the puck while on offense.

All of this makes him useful to the Leafs.

It’s hard to predict what the Leafs fourth line is going to look like next year (or even whenever this season ends), but for a line that, under Sheldon Keefe, has predominantly going to be getting defensive zone starts, very few minutes, and special teams responsibilities, Brooks does all those things and has never been a headache for the current head coach (okay, I can remember one time).

The Leafs, most likely, won’t have anyone who’s going to own the puck whenever the fourth line is on the ice. Barring Nick Robertson, the fourth line will often have to transition the puck up the ice by committee. That means everyone in the right spots to take the puck and move it, reliably. Brooks does that for you, and after getting his feet wet this season, should be more comfortable to do it moving forward.

And if Robertson does make the team, Brooks knows all too well how to get the puck to bold, talented wingers.

None of this is to say he’s going to make the Leafs — the two-year contract allows for Brooks to better pass through waivers and more time to develop, as Katya said — but as someone who has been molded by Keefe and the Marlies so much, he’s got a better chance than most. For a prospect whose development curve has always seemed to run two years later than his birthday suggests, there’s still a lot Brooks can be.

And don’t tell me you wouldn’t love to see a Two and a Half Men line with Brooks, Pierre Engvall, and Jason Spezza.


Leafs Branches

  • Yesterday, Nick Robertson won the OHL’s award for the Most Sportsmanlike Player for 2020. Former winners have included Connor McDavid (Erie 2014), Brandon Saad (Saginaw 2012) and Jeff Carter (Sault Ste. Marie 2005). By the way, I didn’t know this but Nick Suzuki won the same award three years in a row from 2017-19.
  • Mats Sundin was trending in Canada yesterday because he is the best player to have ever worn the Leaf, Kyle Dubas said so, case closed.

Plus, c’mon.

  • Official Leafs Digital Presenter Justin Holl had Andreas Johnsson on the most recent episode of Leaf To Leaf. They talked about their 2018 Championship together, and what they want to achieve in the near future in the NHL. A discarded second-round pick by Chicago, developed through the ECHL, AHL, and now in the NHL, Justin Holl remains one of the Leafs’ most remarkable stories. AND HE’S A RIGHT-HANDED DEFENSEMAN!
  • As you may have noticed on Twitter recently, Jack Han has left his position with the Toronto Marlies as their video coach/assistant coach. He’s become active online recently and his Twitter account has been very informative and insightful.
  • This post by Justin Bourne (also a former Marlies staff member) with and about Sheldon Keefe shares some really interesting facts about how Keefe runs his team as a coach.

Various Other Clippings

  • 31 thoughts and Insider Trading both talking (confusingly) about the NHL’s ability to run the 2019-20 playoffs. I say confusing because there doesn’t seem to be very much that’s been settled at the moment. It all seems very dysfunctional at the moment.
  • The Texas Stars have had to let go of almost the entirety of their staff. Minor leagues are being hit really hard by the pandemic. Even in Texas.
  • Welcome, Bébé! You came at a bit of bad time. Haven’t had a chance to clean the *gestures vaguely at the world crumbling around us* living room yet.
  • And to any F1 fans out there. Hamilton and Vettel at Mercedes in ‘21. Give it to me.