Winnipeg Prospect Slams the Team and says He's Never Going Back

Published May 20, 2023 at 11:11
A young defenceman with the Winnipeg Jets has made some comments in his home country that made it clear he's not happy with how he was treated during his time with the team, and he's never going back.

"...You Don't Even get Rewarded"

Leon Gawanke was drafted in the fifth round, 135th overall, in 2017. The 23-year-old has so far spent his entire pro career in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose. He progressed year over year, finishing 2022-23 with 20 goals and 45 points from the blueline. Gawanke believes he should have gotten a shot in the big league.

"There's no way I'm going back there for another year. That's it now."

"You never accept something like that when you perform and sacrifice year after year and then you don't even get rewarded."

Options for Returning

Gawanke said in the interview that he's signed a four-year contract with Adler Mannheim in Germany. However, that deal can be broken at any time in order to return to North America. Gawanke said that won't happen unless it's with somewhere other than Winnipeg.

"There's still hope that they'll trade me"

The Jets will be in flux for at least the 2023-24 season, if not longer. The team's core is aging out and will need to be replaced either during the draft or by trade. Sticking around may have given Gawanke a chance to showcase his skills in the NHL. That said, it seems his mind is made up.