Jets Bolster Forward Depth In Wake of Injuries With Brooks Waiver Claim

The WInnipeg Jets have bolstered their forward depth in the wake of injuries by adding centre Adam Brooks to the fold, claiming him off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Injuries Cause Jets to Look Outward

The Jets’ contingency of forwards has taken a hit over the past few games. One was injured in each of their past two contests — Andrew Copp in the 6-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, and Cole Perfetti in the 5-3 win over the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.

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Copp, who left Wednesday’s game in the late third period after taking a hit from Jordan Greenway, is day-to-day, interim head coach Dave Lowry said Friday. Perfetti, who left Thursday’s game after taking a hit from Jamie Oleksiak, is a little bit longer than day-to-day.

In addition, Nikolaj Ehlers — who has been out since Jan. 18 after taking a knee-on-knee hit from the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov — is skating every other day but is not close to returning, and CJ Suess remains out as well.

Centre David Gustafsson has recovered from an injury that kept him out for the last six weeks, but Lowry wants him to get back up to speed with some AHL games and he was assigned to the Manitoba Moose on Friday.

Brooks’ Most Recent Stop During Whirlwind Season is Home

As a result of this uncertainty, the Jets picked up the Winnipeg-born Brooks for some additional and low-risk depth as they work through a frenetic February and attempt to get back into the Western Conference Wild Card conversation.

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Jokes about suitcases and merry-go-rounds abounded on Twitter, as this is the fourth time Brooks has been claimed off of waivers this season.

Adam Brooks Toronto Maple Leafs
Adam Brooks began the season with the Maple Leafs and was drafted by them in 2016, but has also played for the Canadiens and Golden Knights this season. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

The 25-year-old and fourth-round 2016 selection began the season with the Maple Leafs but did not make the opening-night roster and was placed on waivers. Claimed by the Montreal Canadiens, he played four games and registered one assist through the first month but was placed on waivers in mid-November. He was then claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights and played seven games there, scoring two goals.

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On Tuesday, the Golden Knights placed him on waivers and on Wednesday, he was claimed by the Maple Leafs. On Thursday, the Leafs placed him on waivers again, but he was snapped up by the Jets.

Brooks is a Journeyman, But Expect Him to Play

In 29-career NHL games, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Brooks has six goals and five assists for 11 points and a plus-seven rating. He is a left-handed shooter can also play wing in addition to centre.

Brooks played AAA hockey for the Winnipeg Hawks and one season for the Winnipeg Thrashers of the Manitoba U-18 ‘AAA’ Hockey League before being drafted. He will be the fifth Manitoba-born player to suit up for the Jets since relocation from Atlanta (to save you a Google search, the other four are Cody Eakin, Quinton Howden, Derek Meech, and Eric Fehr.)

He has shown capable of producing at the minor league level, with 95 points (42 goals, 53 assists) in 169-career AHL games between the Toronto Marlies and the Henderson Silver Knights. But similar to Jets of the past such as Nic Petan and Marko Dano, his AHL production has not translated into big-league success.

The best hope for the Jets is that Brooks can hold down the fort in a bottom-six role until the team gets healthy up the middle, and then provide the Moose — who are near the top of the AHL’s Central Division despite being depleted for most of their campaign — with some scoring pop down the stretch.