Updated: Nov 15, 2021
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. Wash