We’ve revealed our rankings, now this week leading into the 2019 prospect tournament being held in Ontario, we’ll review each player in our top ten, starting with defenseman Leon Gawanke who a year ago wasn’t overly high on too many Jets prospect ranking lists, but after a strong season in Cape Breton and on the international scene, has suddenly turned some heads on the way to signing a deal with the Jets and a future spot with the Manitoba Moose.


  • Born: May 31, 1999 (Age 20)
  • Birthplace: Berlin, GER
  • Position: Defense
  • Handedness: Right
  • Frame: 6’1″ / 198 lbs
  • Drafted: 2017 – 5th Round – 136 Overall
  • Played Last Year: Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL)



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Press Clippings:

“Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defenceman Leon Gawanke chipped in an assist to help host Germany defeat France 6-1 to claim the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship Division I Group ‘A’ tournament in Füssen on Saturday.”

Gawanke, Germany win gold at championship – Cape Breton Post (Dec 19, 2018)

“It looked like Gawanke was set to follow the route of most fifth rounders, quietly going unsigned by his NHL club, and then carving out an unassuming professional career. This season, Gawanke has quickly veered back to the route of promise. He followed up a solid Young Stars tournament in September with four months of fantastic hockey in the QMJHL.”

Jets prospect Leon Gawanke having breakout season and getting back on NHL radar – The Athletic (Jan 15, 2019)


What We Said At The Time:

“Leon Gawanke and Croix Evingson were also a pair of big, lanky d-men picked in the 5th and 7th rounds respectively. Both have been noted to be strong at passing and moving the puck but maybe not so much as good in terms of overall speed and skating ability.”

10 Thoughts On The Awards And Drafts Weekend

What We Say Now:

Leon was drafted back in 2017 based on the raw potential he had displayed in his first year of junior with Cape Breton with his booming shot and ability to play with the puck as notable positive traits right from the start. While it took him a little bit to get going, he is now showing improvement in his ability to skate and make decisions with the puck, so much so that having him play with the Moose next season in the AHL may and should be the next logical step for him in his development as a player as he has graduated past the QMJHL.

Gawanke is going to need to display that his decision making with the puck can adjust to the faster pace of the pro game. There are a few guys ahead of him in the Jets prospect pool that show just as much potential to be good puck moving defensemen as he does, but also have the ability to play physical game that Leon hasn’t really displayed on his part yet. What is going to help Leon stand out for now is that booming shot that makes him a viable offensive weapon. From there, he will have to show he is capable of much more than that.