Our 2002 Top 25 Under 25 countdown continues to build momentum with Colin Swoyer, a college free agent looking to showcase his talents in his first professional season.
#24 Colin Swoyer, RD
2021 Ranking: n/a
Age: 24 (March 31, 1998)
Acquired Via: College Free Agent; Signed 3/28/22
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 185 pounds
Another year, another collegiate free agent signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. After seeing success in the past with this approach, the Penguins are always one of the more active teams on the college free agent market, and this season landed the signature of defenseman Colin Swoyer out of Michigan Tech.
Swoyer signed a one-year deal with the Penguins three days before his 24th birthday on March 28th after completing four seasons with the Michigan Tech Huskies in the NCAA. Prior to college, Swoyer played in the USHL for the Souix Fall Stampede where he was an alternate captain.
At Michigan Tech, he played in 141 games and tallied 72 points, 14 of which were goals. Swoyer also contributed 58 assists during his college career.
From the Penguins:
Swoyer, 23, recently completed a four-year collegiate career at Michigan Tech. This season, the defenseman led team blueliners and set career highs in goals (5), assists (18) and points (23) in 36 games. His 23 points were tied for fourth-most on the team while his four power-play goals were second-most.
In his junior season in 2020-21, the 6-foot, 192-pound defenseman ranked second on the team in assists (14) while his 17 points were fifth on the team and second among defensemen in the WCHA in 30 games. Swoyer was awarded the Gitzen-Loutit Memorial Award as the team’s most outstanding defensive player for the second-straight season after leading defensemen scoring on the Huskies and named to the All-WCHA American Team.
After signing his entry level contract with the Penguins in March, Swoyer joined up with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on an amateur tryout and played in five games in the regular season and one playoff game where he recorded his first ever professional point.
Hopefully Swoyer enjoyed his brief stint in Wilkes-Barre because that’s where he’ll be spending most, it not all, of his 2022-23 season while the Penguins evaluate what they have in their latest college free agent.
At 24 year old, he’s already one of the older prospects in the Penguins system, but when the farm is a dry as what the Penguins are working with, beggars can’t be choosers. This is especially true for the system’s defensive pool, meaning Swoyer should have ample opportunity to prove himself this season.
From Seth Rorabaugh at the Trib:
The Penguins’ current management has largely cleaned house of several prospects it inherited from the regime of former general manager Jim Rutherford. In fact, on Monday, the team declined to extend qualifying offers to defensive prospects Niclas Almari, Cam Lee and Will Reilly and cut them loose as unrestricted free agents. And veteran Juuso Riikola departed after signing in Sweden in May.
So Swoyer will likely be in a position to claim ample ice time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton next season, especially as a right-handed shot, a characteristic that makes him something of a precious commodity in professional hockey.
Most recently, Swoyer attended the Penguins prospect camp last month held in Pittsburgh. It’s likely he will also be apart of the Penguins prospect team that will head to Buffalo in September for a prospect showcase game. After that one must believe he will get his toes wet at training camp before ultimately being assigned to the AHL.
It’s impossible to predict at this time what lies ahead for Swoyer and the Penguins but this season will be a huge opportunity for the rookie to showcase his talents at the professional level.
More often than not college free agents don’t hit big, but the Penguins have shown in the past they can strike gold with players like Swoyer, and their dilapidated farm system sure could use another home run.