By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins prospect Jeremy Swayman's college hockey career officially has a realistic chance to end with the game's top individual honor thanks to a Hobey Baker race that's now come down North Dakota's Jordan Kawaguchi, Minnesota-Duluth's Scott Perunovich, and the Alaskan-born Swayman.
Originally nominated in the group of 10, the 21-year-old Swayman remains in the picture as one of the award's three finalists after a round of fan voting, and after a straight-up sensational season at the University of Maine.
The Black Bears' ace in net, Swayman posted an 18-11-5 record and .939 save percentage in net for Maine this past season before the coronavirus outbreak canceled every winter season's conclusion, and Swayman posted that .939 (the second-best mark in all of college hockey) while getting peppered with an NCAA-high 1,170 shots behind Maine's defense.
In Maine for three seasons, the 6-foot-2 Swayman compiled a 47-40-12 record and .927 save percentage in 100 appearances with for the Black Bears before signing his entry-level contract with the Bruins last month.
Swayman will have to hope that his work in Orono beats out a Kawaguchi resume that included 45 points in 33 games (second-most in the country) and Perunovich's status as the NCHC's best offensive defender for the third year in a row.
Noteworthy Hobey Baker winners include Massachusetts' Cale Makar, Boston University's Jack Eichel, and Boston College's Johnny Gaureau. It's also worth mentioning that a Swayman win would make him the first goalie to capture the Hobey Baker since Ryan Miller won the 2001 Hobey Baker with Michigan State, and just the third goalie to win it in the award's history.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic putting a premature end to the NCAA season, this year's Hobey Baker winner will be named during the 11 p.m. ESPN SportsCenter on April 11 opposed to its typical presentation at the Frozen Four tournament.