The sophomore season at the University of Michigan didn’t leave Jets prospect Brennan Serville very contented.
The 6’3” Wolverines defensemen was plagued by injuries in his second year with a concussion and a separated shoulder keeping him off the ice for a handful of games, slowing his progress.
“I wasn’t satisfied (with the season),”said Serville. “I expected more of myself, and our team didn’t do that well as a group either. But I feel I made some strides from last season, especially being more confident and playing a bigger role on the team.”
Yet, the Jets’ third round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft isn’t dwelling on the frustrating season. He has exams to focus on and a busy upcoming summer of training and working out, which he hopes will keep him healthy next year.
“I need to get stronger to avoid (injuries) happening again,” he said. “I just feel like you have to stick with it, even through the setbacks. That’s part of the sport and being professional is battling through the adversity.”
Serville is looking forward to turning over a new leaf next season after recording one goal and two assists in 30 games this year with a +3 plus/minus rating. That’s a drop-off from eight assists in 34 games his freshman year at Michigan.
“Next year will be my first year as an upper classman and there are a lot of young guys coming in as freshmen,” noted Serville. “So it’ll be up to me and the older guys to lead the team and point them in the right direction.”
But for now the Pickering, Ontario native is looking forward to returning to Winnipeg for the Prospect Development camp in July alongside Wolverines teammate, Jacob Trouba.
“I didn’t really know (Jacob) going into last year’s camp but seeing him there again is going to be nice because I haven’t seen him in a while and it’ll be good to catch up,” he said with a smile.
His main goal is to soak up as much advice and information as he can while in Winnipeg.
“They provide us with nutritional seminars and proper workouts,” explained Serville. “So everything on the ice and even outside of the ice, I want to take that all in and apply it to next year.”
This time around, he’ll know what to expect at the camp.
“Coming into it this year, I’m more ready to go and I’m more confident than I was last year, so I think that translates to how I play on the ice,” affirmed Serville.
He knows his strengths as a player and feels more self-assured in his game. Though he admits to having much work to do going forward, Serville is finding his groove and becoming an impactful defenseman on the ice.
“I would say I’m a smart defenseman; I rarely get caught out of position,” he said. “I have a good stick and I read the ice well but I definitely have to work on my strength in terms of boxing guys out and playing a bigger role on the defensive side of the game.”
Serville hopes to not only learn from, but also to impress Jets management at the Development camp this summer. Coordinator of Player Development, Jimmy Roy, has already noticed a marked improvement in the 20-year-old’s game.
“He’s a big kid with a good long stride. He’s definitely going in the right direction,” said Roy. “Last summer he took the right steps to getting the proper training and nutrition, and worked with a skating coach. He’s doing the right things and he has really good mobility for his size.”