While many eyes are watching the upcoming free agent class to see who will go where, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs have signed a couple of their prospects to entry-level contracts. Tampa Bay has inked Alex Volkov (48th overall pick in 2017) while Toronto has signed Adam Brooks (92nd overall pick in 2016) to three-year, entry-level deals.
Volkov was an overage selection by the Lightning who will turn 20 in August and should start the season with Syracuse of the AHL. The Russian winger was ranked 27th among international skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service, but was a surprising pick when there were more well-known prospects still on the board. That’s why they pay the scouts though, and the Lightning seem excited about Volkov’s offensive upside and ability to score on the powerplay. Syracuse is a tough roster to crack after making the Calder Cup finals this year, but he’ll be able to develop in one of the best systems in the league.
Brooks on the other hand was an overage selection a year ago by the Maple Leafs but showed why when he repeated his outstanding performance from 2015-16. In the last two years, Brooks has put up 250 points for the Regina Pats and while some of that has to do with having Anaheim prospect Sam Steel on his line, he’s no slouch in the offensive zone. Whether Brooks’ size keeps him from ever being an NHL player is still undetermined, but he’ll have to first traverse the ranks of the American Hockey League. With the Maple Leafs lacking much center depth in their system, Brooks could easily find himself as the #1 option for the Marlies next season.