Brian Swanson (C)
||Eagle River, AK
For the last six years, Swanson has been playing in the Deutsch Elite League, finishing second on his club (Iserlohn) last year with 19 goals and fourth with 42 points. In his last North American campaign (2003-04), Swanson placed third on the Chicago Wolves with 47 points (13g-34a) and also appeared in two games for Chicago's NHL affiliate, the Atlanta Thrashers, assisting on one goal. The previous season saw Swanson score twice and assist on 10 other goals in his most extensive NHL action, 44 games with the Edmonton Oilers.
Originally a fifth-round pick (115th overall) of the San Jose Sharks in 1994, Swanson scored 52 goals in 80 USHL games for Omaha before enrolling at Colorado College in the fall of 1995. He promptly led the Tigers all the way to the national championship game as a freshman, finishing second on the club in scoring. Swanson led Colorado College in scoring in each of his last three seasons, and helped the team, which had not been to the Frozen Four in 39 years, back to the national semifinals as a sophomore. He earned NCAA All-America honors in each of his junior and senior campaigns and also was a finalist for the 1999 Hobey Baker Award, presented annually to the top NCAA Division I hockey player, in his senior year.
Swanson landed in the NHL for the first time midway through his second professional campaign in 2000-01, scoring once and assisting on another goal in 16 games for the Oilers. The next season brought a trip to the 2002 AHL All-Star Game, eight more NHL games with Edmonton (one goal, one assist) and a career-high 34 goals, 39 assists, and 73 points (second on the club) for Hamilton, as Swanson led the Bulldogs to within a game of the Calder Cup Finals and earned second-team all-AHL honors at center. He also was recognized that year as being one of the WCHA's 50 all-time greatest players for his Colorado College exploits (where he also was an NCAA All-American) in conjunction with the league's golden anniversary season. In three North American trips to the playoffs (all in the AHL), Swanson has 13 goals and 15 assists in 35 games. His NHL totals include four goals, 13 assists, and 16 penalty minutes.