The Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2016 draft wasn’t as obviously system-gaming as the 2015 class was, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t get creative at all. That was shown perhaps most obviously with the selection of Adam Brooks, who was two months removed from turning 20 when the blue and white called on him with the 92nd overall selection.
Most of the stats-driven types had other names in mind, but were delighted with the selection nonetheless. Scout-driven types saw the rounding out of the system that happened throughout the second day and gave Brooks the benefit of the doubt as well. He was as unanimously approved of by the populace as any selection other than Auston Matthews could’ve been. So far, the gamble is looking pretty good.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) November 14, 2016
To say that Brooks is dominating in the WHL right now is an understatement. This player of the week honour was given to him because he had an obscene 13 points in his last 4 games, including 6 in the two games that mattered for the award. More specifically, he picked up 3 assists in a 10-2 win over Kootenay, a goal and three assists in a 9-6 win over Regina, three assists in a 5-4 overtime win over Moose Jaw, and a goal and two assists in an 8-4 win over Red Deer two days ago.
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 13, 2016
Brooks’ run goes beyond these two or four games, though. The 20-year-old has 25 points in 11 games, which is one of the highest point-per-game runs in WHL history. The Pats have not lost once in their past 10 games and are yet to lose in regulation (14-0-3-0), no doubt helped by the fact that Brooks has points in every single game that he’s played.
It’s a streak that goes beyond this year. The Winnipeg native has points in 44 of his last 47 regular-season and playoff games dating back to January, or 60 of his last 66. Last year, he led the WHL in scoring with 120 points in 72 games, and despite missing the start of the year to participate in Toronto Marlies camp, is just 9 points behind teammate Sam Steel for this year’s crown.
Brooks is perhaps the ultimate over-ager case study, given that Regina’s previous coaching staff were skeptical of his ability to contribute, stunting his development significantly. Heading into his first draft year, Brooks had just 24 points in 119 WHL games; since then, he’s notched 237 in his last 169, with production rates only going up as the months have progressed.
Needless to say, expectations will be high for Brooks if he keeps this up. The 5’10 centre was very close to going pro with the already-stacked Marlies this year, and at this rate should be all but a lock to be their top pivot next year, if he doesn’t straight up find his way into the Leafs roster.
Brooks landed in the 18th position in our Summer Prospect Rankings, with votes ranging from 6th to unranked.