Chris Summers has spent the five years developing within USA Hockey in one fashion or another. He was named to Select 14, 15, 16 camps before joining the NTDP program during the 2004-05 season, where he was also an assistant captain for the U-17 squad. He returned to the program for his final tour, where he played on the U-18 team for the 2005-06 season.
2006-07: Played freshman year with University of Michigan. After playing defense for the majority of his the season, he ended the year up front for Michigan towards the end of the year. Having been blessed with a natural skating ability, Summers was moved up to the left wing with linemates Andrew Cogliano and Chad Kolarik. It proved to be a good move, exposing Summers' offensive ability. Earned CCHA All-Rookie team honorable mention.
2007-08: Played his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. Had a big role solidifying the Wolverines' back end this year. Summers was an integral part in Michigan’s young defensive unit, playing alongside junior Mark Mitera for the majority of the year. The sophomore saw some time up at forward again. In addition to his play with the Wolverines, Summers was a member of Team USA at 2008 World Junior Championship in Czech Republic.
2008-09: In his junior season with the Wolverines, Summers posted 4 goals, 13 assists in 41 games.
2009-10: In his senior season with Michigan, Summers posted 4 goals, 12 assists in 40 games. At the end of his college season, Summers signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Phoenix Coyotes and was assigned to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. In 6 AHL games, Summers posted 1 goal.
2010-11: Summers made his NHL debut in January 2011, skating in two games with the Coyotes; and played a team-high 75 games for the AHL's San Antonio Rampage in his first pro season. Summers had no points and was -3, averaging just under 14 minutes of ice time in his two games with Phoenix. Summers scored once and had 9 assists with a -3 plus/minus and 54 PMs for San Antonio. The Rampage finished four points out of a playoff spot in the AHL West Division.
2011-12: Summers appeared in 21 games for the Coyotes in his second pro season and was with Phoenix during the NHL playoffs but did not see any action. Re-called from AHL Portland on an emergency basis in early December, Summers shuttled between the two clubs four times before joining the Coyotes for good at the end of January. He had 3 assists and was minus-four with 11 penalty minutes; averaging 12:27 minutes of ice time for the Coyotes. Primarily a punishing, shut-down defender with Portland, he had 2 assists and was plus-three with 37 penalty minutes in 28 AHL games. The Coyotes re-signed Summers to a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent in July, 2012.
2012-13: Summers appeared in six games with the Coyotes in his third pro season – spending much of the season with AHL affiliate Portland. He had no points and was -3 with nine penalty minutes; averaging 12:39 minutes of ice time. In 60 AHL regular season games he scored 2 goals with 10 assists and was +3 with 53 penalty minutes. The Pirates finished second in the Atlantic Division and were swept by Eastern Conference champion Syracuse in the first round; suffering two of the three losses in overtime. Summers had no points nor penalty minutes and was -3 in three playoff games.
An exceptional skater with good closing speed and effortless smooth strides, Summers doesn’t stand out in either end but is solid in both. He is a smart player who takes care of his responsibilities without taking too many chances.
After playing in 21 regular season games with the Coyotes, Summers figures to be in the mix for a roster spot again but he will have to take greater advantage of any opportunity as he will be pushed by a slew of fellow defensemen.