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    Gawanke takes big step towards NHL dream


    Two-way contract with the Sharks
    Gawanke takes big step towards NHL dream

    Another German ice hockey star may play in the NHL next season. Leon Gawanke will at least receive a contract that will bring him a big step closer to the best league in the world. However, this is bad news for Adler Mannheim from the DEL.

    Ice hockey runner-up Leon Gawanke has come a big step closer to his dream of making his debut in the NHL. The San Jose Sharks have signed the German defender to a one-year contract. However, this is a two-way contract. The 24-year-old Gawanke could also be used in the lower-class AHL, as he did recently.

    The Sharks had already secured the NHL rights to the 24-year-old in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets at the beginning of the week. However, it was initially unclear whether he would play for the team led by his national team colleague Nico Sturm next season. Gawanke had only signed a four-year contract with Adler Mannheim in May, and Gawanke’s contract in San Jose is now bad news for the club from the German Ice Hockey League (DEL).

    “When we signed Leon, we were aware that this could happen. Of course, it won’t be easy to close his gap, but I’m sure we’ll find a solution,” said Adler manager Jan-Axel Alavaara. For the defender, however, it is a second attempt. Gawanke was never called up for the NHL by Winnipeg despite strong performances with the Manitoba Moose farm team in the American Hockey League (AHL). He recently impressed for the national team alongside the outstanding Sturm. At the World Championships in Tampere, the selection with top performer Gawanke surprisingly won the silver medal.

    Gawanke was selected by Winnipeg in the fifth round at position 136 in the 2017 NHL draft. Since then, the Berlin native has played a total of 217 AHL games for Manitoba, in which he scored 36 goals and 83 assists. In the 2020/21 season, Gawanke also played six DEL games for the Eisbären Berlin.

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