UFHL Playoff Preview: Monarchs Looking Like Team to Beat Among Final Four

The Klein Cup playoffs produced mixed results in the second round, with the underdogs prevailing in the Legends Conference and the favourites advancing in the Allan Conference.

Now the final four are set — the conference finals! They feature a 1-versus-2 showdown in the Allan Conference and a 3-versus-4 matchup in the Legends Conference.

Second Round Results

Legends Conference

4) Monarchs defeated 1) Grizzlies

3) Titans defeated 2) Gators

Allan Conference

1) Defenders defeated 4) Rock Republic

2) Strong Island defeated 3) Tornadoes

Third Round Matchups

Legends Conference

3) Titans vs. 4) Monarchs

Allan Conference

1) Defenders vs. 2) Strong Island

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

NOTE: These four playoff franchises are leasing players from the 15 non-playoff UFHL franchises (listed in parenthesis).

Third Round

Legends Conference

3) Titans vs. 4) Monarchs

3) Titans

Forwards (2)

Steven Stamkos — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders (Murder Hornets)

Reilly Smith — Vegas vs. Dallas

Defencemen (1)

Esa Lindell — Dallas vs. Vegas (Norse Stars)

Goaltenders (2)

Andrei Vasilevskiy — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Curtis McElhinney — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders (Norse Stars)

4) Monarchs

Forwards (9)

Nikita Kucherov — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Brayden Point — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders (Red Army)

Tyler Johnson — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders (Royals)

Anthony Cirelli — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Alex Killorn — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Yanni Gourde — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Mitchell Stephens — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders (Vengeance)

Carter Verhaeghe — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Ross Johnston — New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay

Defencemen (2)

Victor Hedman — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Miro Heiskanen — Dallas vs. Vegas (Bombers)

Goaltenders (1)

Ben Bishop — Dallas vs. Vegas

ANALYSIS: This matchup is lopsided in terms of roster totals, with Monarchs having a 12-5 advantage in players advancing to the third round — thanks in large part to their nine Lightning players. Monarchs were always going to go as far as Tampa Bay could take them and both are into the conference finals in their respective leagues. Titans have Steven Stamkos from Tampa Bay, but he has yet to play in this year’s playoffs and has already been ruled out for this round — for the Eastern Conference Final. Even with Stamkos scoring and Andrei Vasilevskiy standing on his head, Titans wouldn’t have been able to overcome their manpower shortage. Monarchs should cruise to victory, unless the Islanders shut out the Lightning throughout their series, which seems unlikely.

Allan Conference

1) Defenders vs. 2) Strong Island

1) Defenders

Forwards (3)

Jamie Benn — Dallas vs. Vegas (Elite Assassins)

Denis Gurianov — Dallas vs. Vegas (Royals)

William Carrier — Vegas vs. Dallas

Defencemen (2)

Jamie Oleksiak — Dallas vs. Vegas (Ice Vikings)

Andrej Sekera — Dallas vs. Vegas (Elite Assassins)

Goaltenders (0)

None

2) Strong Island

Forwards (5)

Corey Perry — Dallas vs. Vegas (West Coast Express)

Blake Comeau — Dallas vs. Vegas (Royals)

Jason Dickinson — Dallas vs. Vegas

Jordan Eberle — New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay

Cedric Paquette — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders (Bombers)

Defencemen (3)

Ryan Pulock — New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay

Zach Bogosian — Tampa Bay vs. New York Islanders

Jon Merrill — Vegas vs. Dallas (Blades of Steel)

Goaltenders (1)

Anton Khudobin — Dallas vs. Vegas (Warriors)

ANALYSIS: Strong Island have a 9-5 advantage in players advancing to the third round, but this matchup should be more competitive. Defenders have the best player left in Jamie Benn and all five of their remaining players have been contributors through the first two rounds. Strong Island doesn’t have any big names left, but Jordan Eberle is due to break out after being extremely snakebitten against Philadelphia. Eberle looked dangerous in that series and could light the lamp against the Lightning. Ditto for Islanders teammate Ryan Pulock, who hasn’t done as much damage as he’s capable of either. Those two could be difference-makers for Strong Island in this conference final. Anton Khudobin has been doing a passable job in place of Ben Bishop as Dallas’ starter and that trio of Stars’ forwards should chip in some offence for Strong Island. Zach Bogosian has been surprisingly good — and solid — for Tampa Bay and Cedric Paquette is another role player for the Lightning who could help lift Strong Island to victory. Defenders should put up a decent fight, but Strong Island has strength in numbers.

Non-Playoff Franchises

NOTE: These 15 non-playoff UFHL franchises are loaning players to the four playoff franchises. The non-playoff franchises are listed in order of most players remaining in the Klein Cup playoffs.

Royals

Forwards (6)

Alex Ovechkin — Strong Island

Max Domi — Strong Island

Blake Comeau — Strong Island

Tyler Johnson — Monarchs

Tyler Bozak — Titans

Denis Gurianov — Defenders

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Royals didn’t lose anybody from the second round and are back to being the leader with six players left for the third round, including three on Strong Island. Royals are the only franchise with at least one player on each of the final four — meaning Royals are guaranteed to win a portion of the prize money. 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.

Norse Stars

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (3)

Esa Lindell — Titans

Robert Bortuzzo — Titans

Carl Gunnarsson — Titans

Goaltenders (1)

Curtis McElhinney — Titans

ANALYSIS: Norse Stars are one of three franchises with four players left in the third round and they are now fully on the Titans’ bandwagon. But with Titans looking overmatched against Monarchs, it’s not looking good for Norse Stars either.

Elite Assassins

Forwards (2)

Jamie Benn — Defenders

Mikael Backlund — Defenders

Defencemen (2)

Jason Demers — Monarchs

Andrej Sekera — Defenders

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Elite Assassins will be rooting for Defenders first and foremost but will have better odds with their lone Monarch.

Ice Vikings

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (4)

Brenden Dillon — Defenders

Jamie Oleksiak — Defenders

Ilya Lyubushkin — Defenders

Radko Gudas — Strong Island

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Ice Vikings are also pulling for Defenders but are guaranteed to have at least one player in the Klein Cup Final if Strong Island prevails.

Bombers

Forwards (2)

Vladimir Tarasenko — Titans

Cedric Paquette — Strong Island

Defencemen (1)

Miro Heiskanen — Monarchs

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Bombers are one of four franchises with three players left in the third round and are also guaranteed to have at least one player in the Klein Cup Final — most likely Miro Heiskanen with the Monarchs and perhaps Cedric Paquette with Strong Island as well.

Chilean Sea Bass

Forwards (2)

Sean Couturier — Defenders

Derek Stepan — Defenders

Defencemen (1)

Travis Sanheim — Monarchs

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Chilean Sea Bass remained at three players, with two on Defenders.

West Coast Express

Forwards (3)

Johnny Gaudreau — Strong Island

Corey Perry — Strong Island

Brad Richardson — Titans

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: West Coast Express are down to three players, with two on Strong Island.

Blizzard

Forwards (2)

Brad Marchand — Defenders

Travis Konecny — Titans

Defencemen (1)

Robert Hagg — Titans

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Blizzard also have three left but two are with the underdog Titans.

Blades of Steel

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (1)

Jon Merrill — Strong Island

Goaltenders (1)

Darcy Kuemper — Defenders

ANALYSIS: Blades of Steel are one of two franchises with two players left but are guaranteed to have one player in the Klein Cup Final. That is good news!

Murder Hornets

Forwards (2)

Steven Stamkos — Titans

Zach Sanford — Titans

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Murder Hornets also have two left but both with Titans, which doesn’t bode well.

Warriors

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (1)

Anton Khudobin — Strong Island

ANALYSIS: Warriors are one of five franchises down to their final player, but all five could advance to the Klein Cup Final. All five are rostered by the favourites — three by Strong Island and two by Monarchs. Warriors are on Team Strong Island!

Outlaws

Forwards (1)

Teuvo Teravainen — Strong Island

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Outlaws are also on Team Strong Island as their last hope.

Brutes

Forwards (0)

None

Defencemen (1)

Jakob Chychrun — Strong Island

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Ditto for Brutes, rounding out the Strong Island supporters.

Red Army

Forwards (1)

Brayden Point — Monarchs

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Red Army didn’t have many players in the playoffs to begin with, but Brayden Point was always their best chance at cashing in with the Monarchs.

Vengeance

Forwards (1)

Mitchell Stephens — Monarchs

Defencemen (0)

None

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: Vengeance are also down to their final player — another Lightning forward with the Monarchs in Mitchell Stephens.

UFHL Free Agents

Forwards (4)

Milan Lucic — Defenders

Tobias Rieder — Defenders

Nate Thompson — Monarchs

Troy Brouwer — Titans

Defencemen (2)

Niklas Hjalmarsson — Titans

Justin Braun — Monarchs

Goaltenders (0)

None

ANALYSIS: There are still six UFHL free agents left on Klein Cup rosters — two each for Defenders, Titans and Monarchs.

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) Dynasty (from 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) Ice Vikings (from Dynasty)

19) Battle Hawks

20) Power Players

21) Snipers

22) Duckman’s Domination

23) Yetis

24) Rock Republic

25) Tornadoes

26) Gators

27) Grizzlies

28-31) To Be Determined

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 24-27 lost in the second round of the Klein Cup playoffs and are placed in reverse order of their regular-season standings.