Elliotte Friedman dropped a bomb in Montreal but this time, it’s one that should satisfy every Habs’ fan out there. According to the NHL Insider, the Canadiens and Suzuki were close to finalizing a contract extension. Suzuki is entering the final year of his Entry Level Contract and they certainly didn’t want to take the risk of having a team like the Carolina Hurricanes sneak in with an offer-sheet, as they did with Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
TSN Insider Pierre LeBrun added to this by saying that the deal will keep Suzuki in Montreal for another eight years.
Soon after, the Canadiens made the news official on their Twitter account. Saying that Habs’ fans are ecstatic would be a gross understatement!
Suzuki has established himself not only as the Canadiens’ top centre, but he has displayed being a clutch player in the playoffs. While GM Marc Bergevin’s future might be in limbo, sitting as a lame duck for the final year of his own contract, he is still getting things done.
We touched on it before, the biggest concern after the lack of a quality top-4 defenseman on right defense after Jeff Petry, was the lack of quality depth at the center position. By claiming Adam Brooks off waivers from the Leafs has addressed that need. As soon as the Canadiens announced the news, everyone was rushing to Google to find out more about the 25 year-old center.
One man who didn’t have to use any search engine to talk about him is Jack Han, who spent three years in the Leafs’ organisation in Player Development and as the Marlies’ Assistant-Coach in the AHL, knows him well and he feels like he could surprise.
According to Han, Brooks is a quality young player with tons of offensive upside.
Adam is a real student of the game and he’s always looking for ways to improve. Many see him as a defensive player but it’s false. He’s responsible, but has great offensive aptitudes.
As a matter of fact, Brooks’ former coach sees him steal Jake Evans’ spot as the Habs’ third line center due to those offensive attributes. Han sees Brooks’ style being a good complement to Mike Hoffman when he returns from injuries.
If Suzuki is a top-5 offensive center, Dvorak is a top-6 defensive center and Evans is a bottom-6 defensive center, I see Brooks as a bottom-6 offensive center. I could see him playing with Mike Hoffman. Hoffman doesn’t like to carry the puck and that’s one of Adam’s best qualities. Further, Adam has good top-end speed to compensate for Hoffman who’s not the fastest skater out there.
I can see he and Evans battling it out for the third line center position. Brooks has a better vision of the play and better offensive upside than Evans, but Jake is better at puck retrieval and on the defensive side. I can see Brooks get around 30 points (with no power play time).
Base of many Leafs’ fans reactions on Twitter, and reading those comments from Han, it seems like Marc Bergevin stole a very good young hockey player from their hated rivals. Time will tell if the 6-foot, 180 lbs center can take advantage of the opportunity left open by Ryan Poehlings lacklustre training camp.
If you’re looking for him on the ice, he has taken Phillip Danault’s old number 24 with the Canadiens… but can he eat pizza like Danault?
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