A National Hockey League prospect is taking his ball and going home.
Last week we learned that Winnipeg Jets prospect Leon Gawanke was unhappy with how his development was being handled by the team and as a result was effectively leaving the organization to return home to Germany. Gawanke signed with Adler Mannheim for the season in Germany but recently he made it clear that he would never be returning to play in North America if it was under the Jets' umbrella.
"I won't go there for another year. That's it now," confirmed Gawanke to the German media.
Gawanke, a right shot defenseman that had 20 goals and 25 assists in the American Hockey League last season for 45 points in 68 AHL games with the Manitoba Moose feels he has played well enough to earn a shot at the NHL. Even more frustrating for the youngster is that he feels he has been passed up for those opportunities for those he feels are less deserving.
“I worked my ass off there for four years, and wasn’t rewarded," said Gawanke. "That’s obviously frustrating, especially when I see who gets a chance."
It sounds like the only path to the NHL now for Gawanke would be if the Jets were to trade his rights, something he also made clear during this recent interview.
"There is still hope that they’ll trade me," he said of the Jets.
It would be a sad way for the 23 year old to end his professional hockey career in North America but, barring any interest from a rival NHL team, he may be out of luck.