The Toronto Maple Leafs have locked up one of their young depth forwards, signing Adam Brooks to a two-year two-way contract extension. The deal will carry an average annual value of $725K in the NHL. Brooks was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason.
It’s hard to really call Brooks a prospect at this point in his career, even though he has only played seven games in the NHL. The 24-year old was originally selected in the fourth round by the Maple Leafs in 2016 after dominating the WHL, but his progression as a professional has been slow and relatively unspectacular. The 5’10” forward has always been more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer, but it’s his work ethic that will have to be the thing that gets him an opportunity at the next level.
The Maple Leafs are always on the lookout for cheap talent to add to their roster thanks to the heavy contracts at the top, but at this point Brooks is likely still penciled into a role with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Should the 2019-20 playoffs resume, he will likely be one of the team’s “Black Aces,” recalled to skate and practice with the NHL team in case of injury.
Even though Brooks will still be only 26 when this contract expires, there seems to be a good chance that he will become an unrestricted free agent. He would need to play in another 73 NHL games to avoid Group VI UFA status in the summer of 2022.