He’s probably not a familiar face to Golden Knights fans, and maybe not even his own head coach, but Adam Brooks is a known commodity to many in the Golden Knights organization.
The Winnipeg-born 25-year-old played his junior hockey in the WHL before being drafted in the 4th round in 2016 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He bounced between the AHL (Toronto Marlies) and the NHL for his first few seasons before being claimed on waivers early this year by the Montreal Canadiens. When he hit waivers again, the Golden Knights snapped him up, and after a few days waiting for visas and work permits, he’s set to make his VGK debut tonight.
Of course, being a standout in the WHL was always going to catch the attention of Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon. Brooks posted 250 points in his final two seasons in the WHL with the Regina Pats, with plenty coming against McCrimmon’s Brandon Wheat Kings. But it’s not just Kelly who is familiar with him. In his first season with the Pats, Brooks played alongside Chandler Stephenson and then in his final year, future Golden Knights draft pick Jake Leschyshyn was on his team. Then, when he got to the NHL, he met and played with Michael Amadio and Ben Hutton. And before all of it, growing up in Winnipeg has him familiar with Keegan Kolesar, Brett Howden, Nolan Patrick, and Zach Whitecloud.
It’s a pretty big group (of players I know), so you’re able to come in and feel a little more relaxed and a little more comfortable and I’m excited to join this group, it’s a special one. -Adam Brooks
Golden Knights fans may not recognize the name or the face, but they’ll certainly be able to recognize the type of player they are getting in Brooks. A high-IQ player, Brooks is not flashy but has plenty of skill. He’s able to play up and down the lineup and has been used as both a power play option and a penalty killer in his 22-game NHL career. In other words, he’s the exact prototype of a player Vegas has drafted for the past four years.
I think I’m a smart player and that’s how I’ve been able to get to this level. I don’t really think I have one trait that wows anybody. I tend to be in good spots. I’m a guy who coaches in the past I’ve had can rely on me to play in any situation. I think smarts is probably my biggest asset. -Adam Brooks
Pete DeBoer confirmed this morning that Brooks will make his debut with the Golden Knights tonight, and that he would have been in the lineup earlier, during the homestand, if not for the immigration delays.
We’re excited to see him. He’s got NHL games under his belt and I’m excited right now for anybody with some experience for us to stick in there. -DeBoer
Brooks has four goals in the NHL. He has one on the power play, one shorthanded, and two at even-strength. He’s scored them in two ways. The power play goal and the second even-strength one both came on tips from the slot. The other two were good examples of what Brooks said “being in good spots,” as he found himself with the puck on his stick staring at wide-open nets by keeping with the play and heading to the front of the goal.
Historically, the Golden Knights have had some decent success grabbing players off waivers. The first one they ever claimed was Malcolm Subban who went on to play 63 games as a Golden Knight, winning 30 of his 58 starts. The next was Ryan Carpenter, who quickly went on a goal scoring tirade, notching seven in 13 games during the 2017-18 season. Valentin Zykov was claimed during the 2018-19 season and while his contributions were limited, he did score twice in 10 games including a big one on the road at Tampa Bay.
The Golden Knights have been looking for depth amidst the injuries, maybe Brooks will be the perfect fit.