2020-21 Team: Chicago Steel
Date of Birth: May 7, 2003
Place of Birth: Smithtown, NY, USA
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 43rd (amongst NA skaters)
- FC Hockey: 58th
- Dobber Prospects: 47th
- SMAHT Scouting: 59th
- The Hockey Writers (Zator): 62nd
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 61st
Ryan Ufko is a defenseman who is currently in his second season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He has had a strong 2020-21 season, registering 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 47 games and leading all defensemen in scoring. He intends to play one more season for the Steel before he moves to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for the 2022-23 season.
Ufko is regarded as a two-way defenseman due to his offensive presence. He has improved his play in the offensive zone, frequently creating chances for himself and his teammates. One other asset is his ability to work well on the penalty kill, and he has worked to make more of an impact during penalty situations. He keeps possession of the puck well, can push opposing players away, and he can shut down entry zones to deny scoring opportunities. His stick work also helps him to keep control of the puck.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
He may have the offensive qualities and a good awareness on the penalty kill, but Ufko’s defensive element has lacked. This is because he has been more accustomed to playing offensively, and he plays closer to the offensive zone rather than his own half of the ice.
Ryan Ufko – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Ufko was given a “B” grade this season and is predicted to be a second-round draft pick. He has been impressive throughout the 2020-21 season, but he will need to show that this season is not a one-off and that he can be a consistent player.
“If an NHL team is looking for a project of sorts, and is in search of a talented two-way defenceman, Ufko is your man. He provides great offensive output for an undersized defenceman, and is a very good playmaker. On top of that, he boasts above average wrist and slapshots, and can get a puck through tight windows given the opportunity.” – SMAHT Scouting
“Ufko is heavily relied on and is effective in the offensive and defensive zone. Ufko is an agile skater who is elusive enough to navigate his way through the neutral zone to create offensive zone entries. He has a very good ability to change direction quickly and is able to play at a high pace and keep up with opponents.” – Dylan Krill, FC Hockey
- Possession of the puck
- Penalty kills
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Defensive play
Ufko would need to work on defending more often if he wishes to play in the top six. Playing NCAA hockey will give teams a wider idea of how he may cope in the NHL.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense, 6/10
Ryan Ufko Statistics
James is a graduate of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), where he studied Broadcasting in the hope of becoming a sports reporter. He coincided his studies with a part-time job at Rogers Place and saw many memorable moments for the Edmonton Oilers.
James currently runs his own YouTube channel and its website, both called From The Anvil. He post regular content about West Ham United – his favourite soccer team – and has appeared on many soccer podcasts. He covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.