As the preseason draws ever closer (20 days away), the Phoenix Coyotes have a defensive conundrum; a good one. There are nine defensemen under one-way contracts for the upcoming season. One of them wears the number 20.
Chris Summers was a first round pick (29th overall) of the Coyotes in 2006. While he hasn't lived up to the expectations of a first round pick (29 NHL games played in total), he provides valuable depth as a defensive defenseman.
The 25-year-old played six games with the Coyotes last season recording 12 hits, 10 blocks and no points. Known mostly for his defensive game, Summers has yet to score an NHL goal. His best NHL season came in 2011-2012, where he played 21 games and recorded three assists, the only NHL points of his career.
Summers has seen some top pair minutes, at times, in the AHL as a shut-down defenseman. In 169 AHL games (between the Portland Pirates and San Antoinio Rampage), Summers has scored four goals and 25 points.
Don't be scared off too much by his offensive numbers as that is not his game.
As a player at the University of Michigan, Summers was a Finalist for CCHA Defenseman of the Year and earned Michigan's Vic Heyliger Award for outstanding defenseman as a Junior in 2008-2009.
If prolonged injuries or illness to defensemen spring up again this season, the Coyotes may rely on Summers to fill the void.