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."