Selected ten slots (105th overall) after the Florida Panthers made Mike Benning the first defenseman selected in the Bill Zito era, Zach Uens quickly become the second when the Cats grabbed him in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
During his draft season, Uens played in all 34 games and amassed 18 points on four goals and 14 assists as a freshman for Merrimack College. He showed his physical side by leading the team with 68 penalty minutes and displayed a bit of an offensive touch by producing three multi-point games, including a two-assist performance against Boston University on January 17. Prior to enrolling at Merrimack, Uens played two full seasons in the Junior A-level Ontario Junior Hockey League with the Wellington Dukes and attended the Vegas Golden Knights development camp in the summer of 2019.
Uens finished his sophomore campaign with one goal and six helpers, appearing in 14 of 18 games of the Warriors’ COVID-19 shortened schedule. His only goal came on the power play in a 6-2 loss to Connecticut on January 30, 2021. He had two helpers in a 6-2 win over New Hampshire on February 20, which was his only multi-point game of the season. Uens registered 23 shots on goal, took four minor penalties and finished the year with a solid even rating. He blocked 18 shots, including four against Boston College on January 17, which equaled his single game career-high.
As a junior, Uens suited up in 34 games, scored twice and set college career-highs with 17 assists and 19 points. He registered 53 shots on goal, blocked 48 shots and finished with the season with 28 PIM. Uens posted two-assist games on November 12, 2021 against Maine and on February 26, 2022 at New Hampshire. His final NCAA goal was the only one the Warriors scored in a 6-1 loss at Northeastern on March 4.
Uens inked an entry-level contract with the Panthers on March 16 and made his professional debut with the Charlotte Checkers in a 2-1 win over the Providence Bruins a day later. He appeared in a total of six tilts with the Checkers and took one minor penalty and posted a -2 rating.
Dobber Prospects tabs Uens as an offensive defender who enjoys joining the rush. He is a strong skater and does not shy away from being physical. The 21-year-old will be part of the Florida squad that will take part in the four-team Prospects Showcase next week in North Carolina as the Kiddie Cats will play games against the prospects of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators. Expect Uens to put plenty of time in in Charlotte as he tries to work his way up to the NHL in the future.