UFHL Playoff Preview: Strong Island, Monarchs Clashing for the Klein Cup

This is it — the inaugural Klein Cup Final. Strong Island will battle the Monarchs with the winner being crowned the first-ever UFHL playoff champion.

They both prevailed as the lower seeds in the conference finals, with Strong Island emerging as the second seed from the Allan Conference and the Monarchs making it all the way as the fourth seed from the Legends Conference.

Third Round Results

Legends Conference

4) Monarchs defeated 3) Titans

Allan Conference

2) Strong Island defeated 1) Defenders

Fourth Round Matchup

Klein Cup Final

A2) Strong Island vs. L4) Monarchs

Here is how the franchises stack up for the fourth and final round, with a roster comparison followed by a bit of analysis.

NOTE: These two finalists — and all 16 playoff franchises — were leasing players from the 15 non-playoff UFHL franchises (listed in parenthesis).

Fourth Round

Klein Cup Final

A2) Strong Island vs. L4) Monarchs

A2) Strong Island

Forwards (4)

Corey Perry — Dallas vs. Tampa Bay (West Coast Express)

Blake Comeau — Dallas vs. Tampa Bay (Royals)

Jason Dickinson — Dallas vs. Tampa Bay

Cedric Paquette — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas (Bombers)

Defencemen (1)

Zach Bogosian — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Goaltenders (1)

Anton Khudobin — Dallas vs. Tampa Bay (Warriors)

L4) Monarchs

Forwards (8)

Nikita Kucherov — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Brayden Point — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas (Red Army)

Tyler Johnson — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas (Royals)

Anthony Cirelli — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Alex Killorn — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Yanni Gourde — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Mitchell Stephens — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas (Vengeance)

Carter Verhaeghe — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Defencemen (2)

Victor Hedman — Tampa Bay vs. Dallas

Miro Heiskanen — Dallas vs. Tampa Bay (Bombers)

Goaltenders (1)

Ben Bishop — Dallas vs. Tampa Bay

ANALYSIS: The Klein Cup finalists are clearly divided. Ashley Murray’s Monarchs are Team Tampa, with nine skaters from the Lightning. Strong Island is Team Dallas, backstopped by Khudobin and featuring a trio of Stars’ forwards. If Dallas wins the Stanley Cup in a low-scoring series, Strong Island stands a chance to capture the Klein Cup. But if Tampa wins, the Monarchs will almost certainly be crowned — led by the likes of Point, Kucherov and Hedman. The Monarchs have an 11-6 advantage in remaining players, but that is more like 8-6 when factoring in Bishop as Khudobin’s backup and the fact that Stephens and Verhaeghe have been healthy scratches for Tampa at times. So this matchup is closer than it appears, but the Monarchs are the odds-on favourite to claim the inaugural Klein Cup.

Non-Playoff Franchises

NOTE: These 15 non-playoff UFHL franchises were loaning players to the 16 playoff franchises, including the two finalists. The non-playoff franchises are listed in order of most players remaining in the Klein Cup playoffs.

Royals

Forwards (4)

Alex Ovechkin — Strong Island

Max Domi — Strong Island

Blake Comeau — Strong Island

Tyler Johnson — Monarchs

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Royals have four players left — three on Strong Island. They have Comeau with Strong Island and Johnson with Monarchs still playing in the Stanley Cup Final, so they could be torn between them, but a Strong Island win would be more profitable. The way it works with the payouts and the loan system, the eventual champion will be paying out approximately $17 per leased player on their 23-man roster — $17 translates to 850 score coins (SCO), which is the in-game token on the UFF Sports’ platform. The total prize for the Klein Cup champion is $780 USD, which equates to 39,000 SCO, with 50 per cent of that purse ($390 USD or 19,500 SCO) going straight to the winning franchise (owner/GM), while the other 50 per cent is evenly distributed to every player on their roster. Like the NHL, this is a winner-takes-all tournament, with only the Klein Cup champion receiving a prize — at least for this year.

Bombers

Forwards (1)

Cedric Paquette — Strong Island

Defencemen (1)

Miro Heiskanen — Monarchs

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Bombers have two players left, with Heiskanen and Paquette on opposite sides of the Stanley Cup Final as well as the Klein Cup Final. Bombers are the only other franchise guaranteed to win playoff money, along with the aforementioned Royals.

West Coast Express

Forwards (2)

Johnny Gaudreau — Strong Island

Corey Perry — Strong Island

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: West Coast Express are the other franchise with two players left — both on Strong Island’s roster, with Perry still contributing into the final round.

Red Army

Forwards (1)

Brayden Point — Monarchs

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Red Army’s lone hope is still going strong, with Point perhaps the leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. If Point is healthy for the Stanley Cup Final, he’ll play a huge role for both Tampa Bay and the Monarchs in their quest for the Cups.

Vengeance

Forwards (1)

Mitchell Stephens — Monarchs

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Vengeance also has a Tampa forward left but Stephens has been less impactful for the Monarchs — ironically only drawing into the Tampa lineup when Point was sidelined by injury.

Chilean Sea Bass

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (1)

Travis Sanheim — Monarchs

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Chilean Sea Bass are down to their last player — their last hope residing on the Monarchs’ roster.

Elite Assassins

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (1)

Jason Demers — Monarchs

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Elite Assassins are in the same boat, rooting for the Monarchs in the Klein Cup Final.

Warriors

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (1)

Anton Khudobin — Strong Island

ANALYSIS: Warriors are the proud owner of Khudobin, who is shockingly starring in both the UFHL and NHL playoffs. Khudobin could be another candidate for the Conn Smythe, which would be strangely fitting for 2020! Khudobin would only win the MVP if he was key to Dallas winning the Stanley Cup, which could also be key to Strong Island winning the Klein Cup.

Outlaws

Forwards (1)

Teuvo Teravainen — Strong Island

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Outlaws are the former owner of Teravainen, having traded him away during the playoffs, but they would still reap that reward if Strong Island were to win. The payout goes to the franchise that owned the player when the UFHL Playoff Draft took place back on August 10.

Brutes

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (1)

Jakob Chychrun — Strong Island

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Brutes also recently traded Chychrun but remain hopeful that he’ll help them cash in through Strong Island’s success.

Blades of Steel

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (1)

Jon Merrill — Strong Island

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Blades of Steel are among the franchises on Strong Island’s bandwagon, though Merrill didn’t make much of an impact as a loaner — only suiting up once for Vegas in this year’s playoffs, albeit recording an assist in his lone appearance.

Ice Vikings

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (1)

Radko Gudas — Strong Island

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Ice Vikings are also pulling for Strong Island, even with Gudas eliminated long ago. Washington didn’t go far this year, but Gudas has been along for the ride on Strong Island’s roster. If Strong Island wins, Gudas wins, which would result in winnings for the Ice Vikings.

Norse Stars

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Norse Stars are one of three franchises without any players left, losing their final four when Titans fell to the Monarchs. But Norse Stars will continue to cheer on Esa Lindell, rooting for Dallas since their affiliated scout also owns the rights to playoff sensation Joel Kiviranta. Riley Tufte, a Stars’ first-rounder from 2016, is on their protected list too. Norse Stars’ only tie to Tampa is backup ’tender Curtis McElhinney.

Blizzard

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Blizzard are also without any players in the Klein Cup Final, but they do have Andrew Cogliano representing Dallas in the Stanley Cup Final. So go Stars, I guess.

Murder Hornets

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Murder Hornets don’t have anyone left either — losing Steven Stamkos in the conference finals for the UFHL playoffs. Stamkos has yet to suit up in the NHL playoffs but is back skating and could potentially put Tampa over the top in the Stanley Cup Final, though the Lightning have been faring perfectly fine without him.

UFHL Free Agents

Forwards (1)

Nate Thompson — Monarchs

Defencemen (1)

Justin Braun — Monarchs

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: There are two UFHL free agents left — both with the Monarchs. If the Monarchs win, that $34 would be paid to the league and put towards further developing the UFF Sports’ platform.

UFHL Entry Auction Order

1) Vengeance

2) Outlaws

3) Red Army (from Brutes)

4) Chilean Sea Bass

5) Blades of Steel

6) Murder Hornets

7) Warriors

8) Elite Assassins

9) Blizzard

10) Royals

11) Ice Vikings

12) Norse Stars (from West Coast Express)

13) Red Army

14) Bombers

15) Murder Hornets (from Norse Stars)

16) Crypto Knights

17) Stallions

18) Duckman’s Domination (from Dynasty via Ice Vikings)

19) Battle Hawks

20) Power Players

21) Snipers

22) Duckman’s Domination

23) Stallions (from Yetis via Red Army)

24) Rock Republic

25) Tornadoes

26) Gators

27) Grizzlies

28) Titans

29) Defenders

30-31) TBD.

The Entry Auction is the UFHL’s version of the annual NHL Entry Draft but works a little differently with five franchises getting to bid on every prospect. So 1-5 will be bidding on the NHL’s first overall pick, with the remaining four and 6 bidding on the NHL’s second overall pick.

The franchises from 16-29 were eliminated through the first three rounds of the Klein Cup playoffs and are placed in reverse order of their regular-season standings. The Klein Cup champion will be 31, with the runner-up at 30.