Many people believe that one of the Jets’ biggest weak spots this past season was their defense and if they want to be a contender next year they need to add some defensive reinforcements.
We have seen one Winnipeg Jets prospect, named Logan Stanley play outstanding this past year and turn himself into a solid option for the Jets at his young age. While the Jets suffered defeat, there was another defensive prospect in action that turned in some solid performances on the international stage.
The Winnipeg Jets former 2017 fifth round pick, Leon Gawanke, played well for Germany at the 2021 IIHF World Championship
After playing the 2021 regular season in the AHL for the Manitoba Moose, Leon Gawanke was invited to represent Germany at the World Championship in Latvia.
Gawanke played in all of Germany’s ten games throughout this prestigious tournament. En route to Germany’s fantastic fourth place finish, the twenty-two-year-old faced some outstanding competition and did well.
Gawanke also added two goals in those ten games. He came up huge for his country when they needed him most in the dying stages of their quarterfinal matchup against Switzerland.
Germany was trailing 2-1 in the final minute of the game and pulled their goaltender in an effort to level the scoreline. Gawanke came up clutch and scored with the extra attacker to tie the game at two and force the game into overtime. Ultimately, Germany won the game in a shootout and clinched a berth into the semifinals.
On the world’s stage, Gawanke finished the tournament with a stat line of two goals, zero assists, zero penalty minutes, and a +2 plus/minus.
Gawanke has a nice upside for the Winnipeg Jets. At the World Championship, he showed his playmaking skills as a solid offensive defenseman against opposition that has proved themselves at the NHL level.
It will be extremely interesting to see how Gawanke performs in the fall at training camp as he continues his development. The young German defenseman definitely has the potential to be a solid defenseman in the future for the Winnipeg Jets.
Winnipeg Jets Fans: Do you think Gawanke can challenge for a roster spot in the 2021-2022 season? Leave your comments below!
*All Stats and Videos Provided by the IIHF*