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UFHL Playoff Preview: Parity Prevalent for Play-In Round Matchups

UFHL Playoff Preview: Parity Prevalent for Play-In Round Matchups It’s playoff time! The 24-team bracket is set for the Klein Cup playoffs and the countdown is on until August 1st, when the puck will drop on the NHL and UFHL play-in round. The Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League is mirroring the NHL’s format — expanding to 24 franchises because of the abbreviated regular season, with the top four seeds from each conference earning byes to the first round.

Following the play-in round, the UFHL Playoff Draft will take place on August 10, along with the Entry Auction Lottery to determine the auction order for the 15 non-playoff franchises, whose players from NHL playoff teams will be loaned through that draft to fill out the 23-man rosters for the 16 franchises advancing to the first round of the Klein Cup playoffs.

RELATED: UFHL Upcoming Schedule

For now, the focus is on the play-in round matchups, which were finalized with the recent Wild Card Draw. Unlike the UFHL regular season, which is rotisserie for the duration of the NHL regular season without any head-to-head matchups, the Klein Cup playoffs will feature a head-to-head format and the franchises with the most fantasy points following each round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will advance to the next round of the Klein Cup playoffs. Like the Stanley Cup playoffs, this is a winner-takes-all tournament to crown the Klein Cup champion, with that franchise receiving 39,000 score tokens (SCO) — equivalent to $780 USD. The winning franchise automatically earns 50 per cent of that prize (19,500 SCO — $390 USD), with the other 50 per cent divvied up evenly amongst the franchise owners whose players were part of that winning roster. With a 23-man roster, each player’s owner would receive 1/23 of $390, which is $16.96 USD (848 SCO). If the Klein Cup champion won with 15 of their own players on that 23-man roster, they would earn an additional $254.40 USD (12,720 SCO), with the rest of the payout going to the franchise owners that they leased their eight remaining players from. All players will be returned to their respective franchises once the playoffs are finished.

Play-In Round Matchups The road to the Klein Cup will commence with these play-in round matchups: Legends Conference Byes: 1) Grizzlies 2) Gators 3) Titans 4) Monarchs Matchups 5) Outlaws vs. WC3) Crypto Knights 8) Duckman’s Domination vs. 9) Blades of Steel 6) Elite Assassins vs. 11) Stallions 7) Yetis vs. 10) Royals Allan Conference Byes: 1) Defenders 2) Strong Island 3) Tornadoes 4) Rock Republic Matchups 5) Snipers vs. WC2) Murder Hornets 8) Dynasty vs. 9) Bombers 6) Power Players vs. WC1) West Coast Express 7) Battle Hawks vs. 10) Blizzard Roster Drops for Play-In Round For the play-in round, to create a level playing field and balance the rosters, franchises with more players needed to drop the necessary amount to match their opponent’s total. Snipers = 5 (Kieffer Bellows, Tom Kuhnhackl, Stefan Matteau, Michael Grabner, Juuso Valimaki) Crypto Knights = 4 (Michael Raffl, Mason Appleton, Austin Czarnik, Luke Schenn) Blades of Steel = 3 (Juuso Riikola, Haydn Fleury, Ivan Barbashev) Bombers = 3 (Sami Niku, Yannick Weber, Jay Beagle) Battle Hawks = 2 (Mattias Janmark, Michael Dal Colle) Yetis = 1 (Connor Clifton) Elite Assassins = 1 (Andrej Sekera) West Coast Express = 1 (Vladislav Kamenev) The deadline for play-in round rosters was Tuesday, July 28 at 4 p.m. ET, which was also the start time for the NHL’s exhibition schedule. All UFHL franchises needed to have legal rosters by that deadline.

Here is a look at the current rosters for the 16 play-in round franchises, with analysis for each of the eight matchups: Legends Conference 5) Outlaws vs. WC3) Crypto Knights

Outlaws (14) Forwards (10) Max Pacioretty — Vegas (round robin) Ondrej Kase — Boston (round robin) Daniel Sprong — Washington (round robin) Teuvo Teravainen — Carolina vs. New York Rangers (advanced) Alex Nylander — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Josh Ho-Sang — New York Islanders vs. Florida (not on roster) Mike Hoffman — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Kyle Turris — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Luke Kunin — Minnesota vs. Vancouver (eliminated) Ryan Hartman — Minnesota vs. Vancouver (eliminated) Joakim Nygard — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Jeff Carter — Los Angeles (non-playoff) Melker Karlsson — San Jose (non-playoff) Defencemen (3) Shayne Gostisbehere — Philadelphia (round robin) Shea Weber — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Ian McCoshen — Chicago vs. Edmonton (not on roster, advanced) Adam Larsson — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Henri Jokiharju — Buffalo (non-playoff) Jacob Larsson — Anaheim (non-playoff) Josh Manson — Anaheim (non-playoff) Connor Carrick — New Jersey (non-playoff) Goaltenders (1) Sergei Bobrovsky — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Calvin Pickard — Detroit (non-playoff) Crypto Knights (14) Forwards (9) Mark Stone — Vegas (round robin) David Perron — St. Louis (round robin) Carl Hagelin — Washington (round robin) Scott Laughton — Philadelphia (round robin) Michael Raffl — Philadelphia (round robin) Taylor Hall — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Andrew Mangiapane — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Antoine Roussel — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Austin Czarnik — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Patric Hornqvist — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Zach Aston-Reese — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Mason Appleton — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Noah Gregor — San Jose (non-playoff) Sonny Milano — Anaheim (non-playoff) Defencemen (4) Dmitry Orlov — Washington (round robin) Luke Schenn — Tampa Bay (round robin) Mark Giordano — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Jordan Oesterle — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Roman Josi — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Dennis Cholowski — Detroit (non-playoff) Fredrik Claesson — New Jersey (non-playoff) Goaltenders (1) Brian Elliott — Philadelphia (round robin) Martin Jones — San Jose (non-playoff)

ANALYSIS: These franchises are very evenly matched on paper. The Outlaws are arguably a bit deeper up front and clearly have the better goaltender in Bobrovsky, but the Crypto Knights have the advantage on defence with two big-name blueliners and Hall could be a difference-maker among the forwards. It’ll be fun to see Stone and Pacioretty going head to head as Vegas teammates. The Crypto Knights had to drop four but nobody of significance, so that shouldn’t change the complexion much in a matchup that is too close to call.

8) Duckman’s Domination vs. 9) Blades of Steel

Duckman’s Domination (17) Forwards (10) Luke Witkowski — Tampa Bay (round robin) Phil Kessel — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Alex DeBrincat — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Mark Jankowski — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Charles Hudon — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Nolan Patrick — Philadelphia (round robin, not on roster) Brandon Pirri — Vegas (round robin, not on roster, opted out) Valentin Zykov — Vegas (round robin, not on roster) Alexander Barabanov — Toronto vs. Columbus (not on roster, ineligible) Mika Zibanejad — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Evgeni Malkin — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Jason Zucker — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Mikael Granlund — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Dryden Hunt — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Casey Mittelstadt — Buffalo (non-playoff) Defencemen (6) Derrick Pouliot — St. Louis (round robin) Jeff Petry — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Alexander Edler — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Jake Gardiner — Carolina vs. New York Rangers (advanced) T.J. Brodie — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Dante Fabbro — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Goaltenders (1) Antti Raanta — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Ryan Miller — Anaheim (non-playoff) Blades of Steel (17) Forwards (11) Gabriel Landeskog — Colorado (round robin) Jakub Vrana — Washington (round robin) Jake DeBrusk — Boston (round robin) Brayden Schenn — St. Louis (round robin) Sammy Blais — St. Louis (round robin) Ivan Barbashev — St. Louis (round robin) Matt Barzal — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Artturi Lehkonen — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Josh Anderson — Columbus vs. Toronto (advanced) Auston Matthews — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated) Nikolaj Ehlers — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Ilya Mikheyev — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated) Defencemen (4) Ian Cole — Colorado (round robin) Jon Merrill — Vegas (round robin) Jonas Siegenthaler — Washington (round robin) Haydn Fleury — Carolina vs. New York Rangers (advanced) John Marino — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Juuso Riikola — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Madison Bowey — Detroit (non-playoff) Goaltenders (2) Darcy Kuemper — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Thomas Greiss — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced)

ANALYSIS: This might be the marquee matchup for the play-in round, with plenty of firepower on both rosters — particularly among the forwards. That is going to be quite the showdown, but Blades of Steel can still basically roll four lines up front. Duckman’s have a distinct advantage on defence, with Blades of Steel ditching two blueliners among their three drops. Whoever starts in goal for Arizona could be impactful in this matchup, but Blades of Steel may be unstoppable with all those forwards attacking in waves.

6) Elite Assassins vs. 11) Stallions