Weight: 180 pounds
Date of birth: May 13, 2001
Hometown: Belleville, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 4, 76th overall, 2017 Priority Selection by the Flint Firebirds
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: C Prospect. Mid-term: 138th North America
Belleville, Ontario native and Wellington Dukes defender Zachary Uens is committed to Merrimack College beginning with the 2019-2020 season.
Prior to completing two seasons with the Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Uens played his Minor Midget AAA with the Quinte Red Devils. In 35 games, Uens scored 7 goals and assisted on 22 others during the 2016-2017 season. He would also play in the OHL Cup with the Red Devils and represent Team OMHA at the OHL Gold Cup. He would join the Dukes for two games before joining the club full time the following season.
Uens’ first season in the OJHL is one he will probably always remember. In 54 games he scored 5 goals and assisted on 18 others. He was named to the OJHL’s second all-prospects squad. The Dukes won the OJHL Championship (Buckland Cup) during his rookie season and the squad went on to win the Dudley-Hewitt Cup and represented Central Canada at the RBC Cup to determine Canada’s top Junior A team.
At the RBC Cup, Uens and the Dukes lost a heartbreaker to the Chilliwack Chiefs by a score of 4-2. During the 25-game playoff run Uens scored 2 goals and 4 assists.
This season Uens was named to the OJHL first all-prospect team after scoring 6 goals and 16 assists while appearing in just 34 games. His points per game would put him in the top 5 among OJHL defenders. He would add 2 goals and 8 helpers in 22 playoff games.
Uens isn’t a flashy player that brings fans out of their seats. Instead, he goes quietly about his business and rarely gets caught making a bad decision. Uens is a very smooth skater with some deceptive quickness in his feet. Defensively, he understands the importance of keeping gaps tight and is swiftness moving east-west as well as north-south allows him to do so. He angles people off extremely well and has decent size and doesn’t shy away from physicality.
Uens is quick to retrieve pucks and isn’t shy about skating out of the zone and transitioning to offence. His ability to make long, accurate stretch passes is off the charts and one of the better parts of his game. When in transition Uens is more then willing to jump into the play. But he plays it safe and won’t take many risks.
Offensively, Uens walks the line very well and can “wait it out” for a seam to open up. And with his vision and passing skills, he finds those lanes.
Like fellow OJHL defender a year ago, Dustyn McFaul, Uens is a project that will spend a few years in the NCAA. For an NHL team with a lot of depth on the blue line that can wait the 4 years maximum in the NCAA and then another year in the American Hockey League, Uens could be a good late round find.