Kelly Summers is committed to Clarkson University for next season (Mike Carroccetto for Yahoo! Canada Sports)Kelly Summers' long-term thinking is putting Carleton Place and his Ottawa Valley hometown of Golden Lake on the hockey map.
Possessed of a big-time shot and innate hockey sense, the redheaded rearguard from the Ottawa Valley has helped the Carleton Place Canadians take the Central Canada Hockey League by storm, racking up a record 54 wins and 110 points across 62 games. Summers, who's committed to play next season at Clarkson University where his cousin Mike Sullivan was a standout in the mid-2000s, averaged more than a point per game during the regular season. He's built off that to help the fifth-year Canadians franchise make its first CCHL final. On Tuesday, NHL Central Scouting ranked Summers No. 73 on its final ranking of North American skaters.
"Being put on the first [NHL Central Scouting] list [in January] was just a big surprise, then a couple days ago, I checked it out and I was 73rd," says Summers, who was No. 155 on the CSS list on the midterm before more and more scouts began making a point to check out Canadians' games. "It's a good honour ... It was [a sense of] finally just knowing it could come true, As a kid you always think about it and it just seems out of reach. Now, just making the list, it seems possible to make it there."
Central Scouting has only two Canadian Junior A players ranked above Summers, who tallied 17 goals and 60 points over 56 games. Those are exceptional numbers for any defender, let alone one who's only 17 years old.
"He's a special player — he'll be a top-four guy in the NHL at some point for sure," Canadians coach Jason Clarke says. "Kelly's work ethic and Kelly's attention to detail and just overall maturity level has really just come to fruition ever since Christmastime. He's really taken the next step to becoming an elite player.
"I think the big thing for Kelly is it's just him getting bigger, stronger, faster, His talent that he has, his hockey sense is just a God-given talent and he just has to move forward with some real hard work."
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