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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

Elite Assassins (14) Forwards (8) Jamie Benn — Dallas (round robin) Tyson Jost — Colorado (round robin) Oskar Sundqvist — St. Louis (round robin) Mikael Backlund — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Carl Soderberg — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Tyler Motte — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Kyle Connor — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Pavel Buchnevich — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Kevin Labanc — San Jose (non-playoff) Marcus Sorensen — San Jose (non-playoff) Nicolas Deslauriers — Anaheim (non-playoff) David Backes — Anaheim (non-playoff) Defencemen (5) Nate Schmidt — Vegas (round robin) Andrej Sekera — Dallas (round robin) Brett Pesce — Carolina vs. New York Rangers (advanced) Jason Demers — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Aaron Ekblad — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Jacob Trouba — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Travis Hamonic — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (not on roster, opted out) Goaltenders (1) Marc-Andre Fleury — Vegas (round robin) Jonathan Bernier — Detroit (non-playoff) Stallions (14) Forwards (8) Ondrej Palat — Tampa Bay (round robin) Matthew Tkachuk — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Bo Horvat — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Brandon Saad — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Nick Schmaltz — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Jake Guentzel — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Zack Kassian — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Alex Chiasson — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Jesse Puljujarvi — Edmonton vs. Chicago (not on roster, ineligible, eliminated) Anze Kopitar — Los Angeles (non-playoff) Tage Thompson — Buffalo (non-playoff) Devante Smith-Pelly — UFA (ineligible) Defencemen (5) Kevin Shattenkirk — Tampa Bay (round robin) Colton Parayko — St. Louis (round robin) Adam Pelech — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Andy Greene — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Matt Benning — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Dustin Byfuglien — UFA (ineligible) Goaltenders (1) Malcolm Subban — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Jimmy Howard — Detroit (non-playoff)

ANALYSIS: This should be another barnburner and could come down to the Stallions’ forwards versus the Assassins’ defencemen. The Assassins should also benefit from having Fleury in goal. Guentzel is going to be an X-factor in this matchup and we’ll see whether Benn was pacing himself for the playoffs. If Benn is in beast mode right out of the gates in the round robin, that would obviously bode well for the Elite Assassins. If Guentzel is back up to speed, he could have the Stallions galloping into the first round with the rest of their thoroughbreds. But the bookies will struggle when it comes to handicapping this matchup.

7) Yetis vs. 10) Royals

Yetis (17) Forwards (10) Vladislav Namestnikov — Colorado (round robin) Matt Calvert — Colorado (round robin) Derek Grant — Philadelphia (round robin) Oskar Lindblom — Philadelphia (round robin) Brock Boeser — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Jean-Gabriel Pageau — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Andrew Shaw — Chicago vs. Edmonton (not on roster, opted out/LTIR) Connor McDavid — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Mitch Marner — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated) Calle Jarnkrok — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Lucas Wallmark — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Anthony Mantha — Detroit (non-playoff) Kyle Palmieri — New Jersey (non-playoff) Carter Rowney — Anaheim (non-playoff) Defencemen (6) Deryk Engelland — Vegas (round robin) Connor Clifton — Boston (round robin) Zach Werenski — Columbus vs. Toronto (advanced) Neal Pionk — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Adam Fox — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Ryan Lindgren — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Brendan Smith — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Goaltenders (1) Joonas Korpisalo — Columbus vs. Toronto (advanced) Ilya Samsonov — Washington (round robin, not on roster, IR) Royals (17) Forwards (11) Alex Ovechkin — Washington (round robin) Tyler Johnson — Tampa Bay (round robin) Tyler Bozak — St. Louis (round robin) Alex Steen — St. Louis (round robin) Lars Eller — Washington (round robin) Denis Gurianov — Dallas (round robin) Blake Comeau — Dallas (round robin) Jacob de la Rose — St. Louis (round robin) Max Domi — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Riley Nash — Columbus vs. Toronto (advanced) Oliver Wahlstrom — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Joe Thornton — San Jose (non-playoff) John Hayden — New Jersey (non-playoff) Taylor Leier — Buffalo (non-playoff) Defencemen (5) Braydon Coburn — Tampa Bay (round robin) Tyler Myers — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Johnny Boychuk — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Ryan Ellis — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Marcus Pettersson — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Rasmus Dahlin — Buffalo (non-playoff) Drew Doughty — Los Angeles (non-playoff) Goaltenders (1) Jordan Binnington — St. Louis (round robin) Mackenzie Blackwood — New Jersey (non-playoff)

ANALYSIS: McDavid against Ovechkin, it doesn’t get much better than this matchup. The Royals got a nice boost with Domi deciding to play despite the risks as a diabetic. The Royals also could have used Dahlin and Doughty on defence, but the Yetis will be missing Mantha and Palmieri as quality forwards to offset those non-playoff absences. It’s all about who’s in the playoffs now and these rosters still have plenty of star power. This matchup will be must-see TV between two legit contenders for the Klein Cup.

Allan Conference 5) Snipers vs. WC2) Murder Hornets

Snipers (19) Forwards (11) Roope Hintz — Dallas (round robin) Ilya Kovalchuk — Washington (round robin) Ryan Reaves — Vegas (round robin) Josh Bailey — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Joel Armia — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Paul Byron — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Leo Komarov — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Michael Grabner — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Tom Kuhnhackl — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Kieffer Bellows — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Stefan Matteau — Columbus vs. Toronto (advanced) Chris Kreider — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Andreas Athanasiou — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Erik Haula — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Aleksi Saarela — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Dominik Kahun — Buffalo (non-playoff) Martin Frk — Los Angeles (non-playoff) Rudolfs Balcers — Ottawa (non-playoff) Max Comtois — Anaheim (non-playoff) Drake Batherson — Ottawa (non-playoff) Ville Meskanen — UFA (ineligible) Defencemen (6) John Carlson — Washington (round robin) Marco Scandella — St. Louis (round robin) Stephen Johns — Dallas (round robin) Quinn Hughes — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Sami Vatanen — Carolina vs. New York Rangers (advanced) Markus Nutivaara — Columbus vs. Toronto (advanced) Juuso Valimaki — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Jay Bouwmeester — St. Louis (round robin, not on roster, LTIR) Goaltenders (2) Juuso Saros — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Igor Shesterkin — New York Rangers vs. Carolina (eliminated) Murder Hornets (19) Forwards (11) Steven Stamkos — Tampa Bay (round robin) Nicklas Backstrom — Washington (round robin) Zach Sanford — St. Louis (round robin) Elias Lindholm — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Cam Atkinson — Columbus vs. Toronto (advanced) Nino Niederreiter — Carolina vs. New York Rangers (advanced) Drake Caggiula — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Matt Martin — New York Islanders vs. Florida (advanced) Brett Connolly — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Andrew Copp — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Nic Petan — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated) Jimmy Vesey — Buffalo (non-playoff) Austin Wagner — Los Angeles (non-playoff) Adam Erne — Detroit (non-playoff) Defencemen (6) John Moore — Boston (round robin) Troy Stecher — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Oscar Fantenberg — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Oliver Kylington — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Tyson Barrie — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated) Oscar Klefbom — Edmonton vs. Chicago (eliminated) Cam Fowler — Anaheim (non-playoff) Goaltenders (2) Cam Talbot — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Laurent Brossoit — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated)

ANALYSIS: At risk of sounding like a broken record, this is shaping up to be another competitive matchup — a pick ’em of sorts, with no real betting favourite. The Murder Hornets have the better forwards, Snipers have the better goaltenders, and their defencemen are darn near equal. All the key players are evident, but the depth players could decide this matchup — as is often the case in a playoff series.

8) Dynasty vs. 9) Bombers

Dynasty (13) Forwards (7) Patrick Kane — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Sean Monahan — Calgary vs. Winnipeg (advanced) Nick Suzuki — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) David Kampf — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Kasperi Kapanen — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated) Cody Eakin — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Evan Rodrigues — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Brady Tkachuk — Ottawa (non-playoff) Jeff Skinner — Buffalo (non-playoff) Sam Steel — Anaheim (non-playoff) Brendan Perlini — Detroit (non-playoff) Sam Gagner — Detroit (non-playoff) Defencemen (5) Justin Faulk — St. Louis (round robin) Olli Maatta — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Jake Muzzin — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated) Anton Stralman — Florida vs. New York Islanders (eliminated) Dylan DeMelo — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Marc-Edouard Vlasic — San Jose (non-playoff) Michael Del Zotto — Anaheim (non-playoff) Goaltenders (1) Matt Murray — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Carter Hutton — Buffalo (non-playoff) Bombers (13) Forwards (10) Tyler Seguin — Dallas (round robin) Vladimir Tarasenko — St. Louis (round robin) Joel Farabee — Philadelphia (round robin) Cedric Paquette — Tampa Bay (round robin) Clayton Keller — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Kirby Dach — Chicago vs. Edmonton (advanced) Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (advanced) Barrett Hayton — Arizona vs. Nashville (advanced) Jay Beagle — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Brandon Dubinsky — Columbus vs. Toronto (not on roster, LTIR) Patrik Laine — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Conor Sheary — Pittsburgh vs. Montreal (eliminated) Robby Fabbri — Detroit (non-playoffs) Artem Anisimov — Ottawa (non-playoffs) Defencemen (1) Miro Heiskanen — Dallas (round robin) Julius Honka — Dallas (round robin, not on roster, ineligible) Yannick Weber — Nashville vs. Arizona (eliminated) Sami Niku — Winnipeg vs. Calgary (eliminated) Thomas Chabot — Ottawa (non-playoffs) Nikita Zaitsev — Ottawa (non-playoffs) Mirco Mueller — New Jersey (non-playoffs) Goaltenders (2) Thatcher Demko — Vancouver vs. Minnesota (advanced) Jack Campbell — Toronto vs. Columbus (eliminated)

ANALYSIS: The Bombers have more weapons up front, but Dynasty has nice depth on defence and Murray is the most likely starter among the goaltenders in this matchup. This could be a classic offence-versus-defence clash, but fantasy tends to favour forwards, so the Bombers might be better off with Heiskanen as their lone defenceman following their three drops. Patty Kane will do his best to keep it close, but the Bombers should be able to outgun Dynasty.

6) Power Players vs. WC1) West Coast Express