Jacob DeSerres has moved one step closer to potentially signing an NHL contract.
Fresh off a Memorial Cup championship with the Saint John Sea Dogs, the former Brandon Wheat Kings' goaltender has earned an invitation to the Phoenix Coyotes' prospects development camp next month.
"I'm probably going to Phoenix's summer camp," DeSerres said Sunday from his Calgary home. "If I do that, something hopefully will happen (contract-wise) after that, or while I'm there. Who knows? You really just don't know when it could happen, or if it will happen."
Now that he has graduated from junior hockey, DeSerres is at a crossroads. If he doesn't land a multi-year pro contract, he plans to play university hockey.
His agent, former NHL goaltender Mike Liut, has been fielding calls from NHL teams, and the Coyotes showed extra interest with an invitation to their July camp.
"I think it's great," DeSerres said. "I'd love to sign with them. You want to be optimistic, but at the same time, I don't want to get ahead of myself before anything actually happens."
DeSerres, 21, is cautious for good reason. The Philadelphia Flyers drafted him in the third round of the 2008 NHL entry draft, but they opted not to sign him and he's no longer their property.
Since that disappointment, however, DeSerres has only helped his marketability. He was a standout with Saint John this past season as the Sea Dogs won their first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup titles.
"Everyone is looking for a winner," said DeSerres, who was also a Memorial Cup finalist in 2010 as a Wheat King. "I always said, 'What else can you do than take care of your business?' The ultimate goal is to try to win. I hope it helps. Usually, good things happen to players on the winning team."
Case in point was this weekend's NHL draft as five Sea Dogs were selected -- three of them went in the first round and another was chosen five picks into the second round.
"With all the guys on my team going, it's exciting for them," DeSerres said. "I haven't been so into the draft since my draft.
"I'm sure at training camp in Saint John there won't be too many of the actual players there. For the first month, it'll be a whole new (dressing) room, just because there'll be so many guys at (NHL) camps. There's five guys drafted (this year) and I'm sure there's going to be four or five guys that aren't drafted that have (invitations to) camps, and then there's guys that are already drafted from other years that'll be at camps."
It remains to be seen whether DeSerres himself will be at an NHL training camp in the fall. He's seeking contractual guarantees.
"It's an entry-level contract I'm looking for," said DeSerres, whose summer training partners include longtime friend Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers. "I think I'd go to school before (I'd settle for less). I wouldn't take just a one-year minor-league deal, or something like that. Even if it was an American league deal ... I don't know, it's tough to say. I'd have to look at all my options."
University hockey looms as a possibility, with CIS coaches courting DeSerres for the past year.
"It's a good option as well, and often it's a better option than getting a one-year (pro) deal," he said. "You can always do that after school."
If he plays CIS hockey, it would likely be with the University of Manitoba Bisons.
"I talked to (Bisons coach) Mike Sirant a lot through the year," DeSerres said. "It's a good team and they're losing their goalie, (Steve) Christie. They're getting all their D-men back. It's a good program -- I only hear good things. It's Manitoba and I loved being in Brandon. I know a lot of people in Manitoba."