September 6, 2007

So. | D | Milan, Mich.

Summers split time between defense and left wing for the Wolverines last season. In 11 games at forward, he scored five goals and three assists.


Key Statistics: Summers logged 30 games on defense for the Wolverines as a freshman, scoring one goal and five assists from the blue line. He skated at left wing for the team's final 11 contests, where he scored five goals and added three assists.

What He Does: A little bit of everything, as evidenced by his Swiss Army knife-like versatility last season. Summers, who was selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, has rightly earned a reputation as a heady defensive defenseman and an exceptional skater. Michigan coaches hope his late-season scoring prowess trigger similar development in his offensive instincts when he returns to defense.

The Bigger Picture: With four regular defensemen from last year's team Tim Cook, Jason Dest, Matt Hunwick, and Jack Johnson gone, Summers will start the season on the blue line. U-M assistant coach Billy Powers says Summers is a "coach's-type player" who's über-responsible in his own end, but the coaching staff has encouraged him to get more involved offensively. Summers may never become a prolific offensive defenseman, but with his skating prowess and rink awareness, he's got the green light to be creative with the puck. His leadership skills, dating back to his tenure with the U.S. NTDP, are well known; Summers and junior Mark Mitera will be asked to be steadying influences on a green defensive corps.

Michigan assistant coach Billy Powers on Summers: “He's been a winner at every level, and I envision him being the kind of player who will bring people along with him, have a contagious attitude, and speak up a little bit more. It takes a while to get the trust and respect of your teammates, especially the juniors and seniors, but his attitude is starting to rub off on the other players."

— Mike Eidelbes