Mobile puck moving defender who can quarterback a powerplay. Needs to get stronger and improve his decision making to reach his potential as an NHL defender.
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February 2023 – Ufko has had a busy couple of months. He was a surprise revelation for Team USA at the World Junior Championship. On the way to a Bronze Medal, he led the entire tournament in assists by a defenseman with nine, including five assists in an outstanding performance against Germany in the quarter-finals. Ufko averaged around 18 minutes a game for Team USA, and he was trusted with key playing time against other teams’ top lines.
When it comes to his play in the NCAA, Ufko has seen a slight regression from his previous season. He is currently on a 0.74 points-per-game pace, a decrease from his 0.84 pace last year. However, UMass is a much worse team this year than they were in 2021/22. Their 22-3-13 (W-T-L) record from last season has regressed into a 10-10-5 record (W-L-OTL) through 25 games thus far this year. Ufko is still doing all of the right things at both ends of the ice but the obvious drop in play from the entire team has affected his production. He is still a key prospect to keep an eye on in the Predators’ system. Curtis Rines
December 2022 – Ufko has continued his strong play from last season in his sophomore year with UMass. The American defenseman has 13 points in 16 contests while playing 25 minutes a game. His solid start has earned him an invite to USA’s World Junior Selection Camp, where he will fight for a roster spot for the 2023 World Junior Championship.
Ufko displays strong skating along the blueline game in and game out, but when defending the rush, he gets caught flat-footed at times. He has good playmaking abilities and rarely forces a bad pass when breaking out of his own end. For a smaller d-man, he is not afraid to lay a big hit but can still lose physical battles in front of his own net at times. I strongly believe in Ufko’s abilities and see him as a future NHLer with powerplay upside. Curtis Rines
May 2022 – A breakout star for UMass this season, Ufko is slowly climbing the prospect rankings in the Predators organization. The right-handed defenseman scored five goals and 31 points in just 37 games this season. His ability to quarterback a power play and move the puck is near the top of his class. Ufko remains undersized and is a below-average skater, but his offensive production helps to ease the worries about that. As he enters his sophomore year, adding an extra five to ten pounds while improving his speed could go a long way to cementing him as
a blue-chip prospect. Curtis Rines
August 2021 – In limited minutes at this year’s World Junior Summer Showcase, Ufko showed some physicality with a couple of big hits as well as his quality mobility but was held off the score sheet through two games played. Curtis Rines
July 2021 – Ufko was selected in the fourth round, 115th overall, by the Nashville Predators in the 2021 NHL Draft. Dave Hall
February 2021 – Ufko has taken off in his second USHL season, already with eight goals and 21 assists in just 30 games compared to the nine points he registered in 43 games as a rookie. He is Chicago’s main driver on the back end, and his 29 points are almost double the next highest-scoring defenceman on his team. The undersized blueliner will return to the USHL next season and is committed to UMass for the 2022-2023 campaign.
Ufko is a highly mobile defender who has the ability to change directions and shake the first layer on the breakout before firing an accurate pass to advance play for his team. Though he is very agile, he will need to improve his top gear as he grows and adds strength to his frame. These attributes shine through on the powerplay as he effortlessly walks the line and eludes defenders to create shooting lanes or open seams to complete passes to his teammates. Ufko’s quick feet also help him maintain a tight gap as he is able to mirror oncoming rushers and use his stick to guide them where he wants them to go before attacking the puck to break up the play. He thinks the game at a pretty high level but he does occasionally take unnecessary risks that will burn him at the next level and his lack of strength can become apparent when defending down low or in front of his net when he struggles to box out bigger forwards. If Ufko can tighten up his decision-making while adding a bit of speed and strength to his game, he could be an effective bottom-pairing puck mover with powerplay utility in the NHL. Nick Richard
|2012-2013||Connecticut Jr. Rangers||Brick Invitational||6||0||1||1||0||||
|2015-2016||Mid Fairfield Jr Rangers (PW)||QC Int PW||5||0||1||1||4||||
|2017-2018||Mid Fairfield Rangers 14U AAA||14U AAA||-||-||-||-||-||||
|All American Prospects U15||WSI U15||6||1||3||4||2||||
|2018-2019||North Jersey Avalanche 16U AAA||AYHL 16U||22||4||19||23||20||||
|North Jersey Avalanche 16U AAA||T1EHL 16U||25||2||22||24||8||||
|2021-2022||Univ. of Massachusetts||NCAA||37||5||26||31||12||||
|2022-2023||Univ. of Massachusetts||NCAA||32||8||16||24||25||||
|2023-2024||Univ. of Massachusetts||NCAA||13||4||6||10||10||||