UFHL Season Preview: Plenty of Contenders, Parity for 2021 Campaign

UFHL Season Preview: Plenty of Contenders, Parity for 2021 Campaign

With the puck dropping on the NHL season tonight, it’s also go-time for the Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League. The shortened 56-game schedule ensures more of a sprint than the typical marathon and UFHL franchises will also want to avoid a slow start in terms of fantasy points. The evaluation process — also known as the feeling-out timeframe — may not last long before franchises begin making major moves for the present or the future.



Roster activity has been steady throughout the offseason, with franchises positioning themselves for opening night. For 10 franchises — essentially one-third of the league — this will be their debut for fantasy gameplay, and that isn’t counting several other owners who are also new to the UFHL following 11 franchise sales since the inaugural Klein Cup was awarded in October. Only 10 of the original franchise owners remain from a year ago — from the initial UFHL Draft last January — and six of those franchises have since hired general managers as the stakes continue to get higher, with a progressive prize pool sure to surpass $50K USD before being capped at the April 12 trade deadline. That’s serious money for serious players, and all 31 franchises will earn a payout on a sliding scale — with a significant drop-off beyond the top-16 playoff seeds — so this season promises to provide the most competitive and realistic fantasy experience available. Especially with the expansion draft looming in July — both for the NHL and for the UFHL, which will be welcoming its 32nd franchise on March 1, with the culmination of that ongoing expansion franchise auction.



As for opening night, here is a look at how the 31 franchises are stacking up on paper heading into the 2020-21 season: NOTE: The UFHL recently underwent a divisional realignment, while opting to rename its divisions after NHL Hall-of-Famers. A handful of franchises also unveiled new franchise names and logos, adding to the excitement on the eve of the season. Listed in parenthesis is the franchise’s rank from the Preseason Power Rankings that were published on Dec. 1, though some rosters have changed substantially over the past 44 days. Allan Conference Gretzky Division Grizzlies (1) Red Army (3) Monarchs (10) Generals (23) Battlehawks (26) Stallions (27) Godfathers (28) Norse Stars (29) Lemieux Division Yetis (2) Ice Vikings (6) Blades of Steel (11) Warriors (13) Stingrays (14) Blizzard (20) Crypto Knights (22) Eliminators (25) Legends Conference Orr Division Strong Island (4) Titans (5) Rock Republic (7) Brutes (15) Elite Assassins (18) Kamikaze (19) Snipers (23) Duckman’s Domination (30) Howe Division Outlaws (8) Gators (9) West Coast Express (12) Royals (16) Tornadoes (17) Mystics (21) Dynasty (31) * Expansion Franchise * Opening Day Rosters Allan Conference Gretzky Division



Grizzlies Forwards Dominik Kahun-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-William Karlsson-Teuvo Teravainen Jaden Schwartz-Nazem Kadri-J.T. Compher Warren Foegele-Jared McCann-Jesper Fast Defenders Mikhail Sergachev-Ethan Bear Marcus Pettersson-Justin Schultz Ryan Graves-Matt Roy Goaltenders Connor Hellebuyck Alexandar Georgiev Extra Skaters: Noel Acciari (F), Sean Kuraly (F), Nikita Nesterov (D) IR/LTIR: Bryan Little (F)



Red Army Forwards Kirill Kaprizov-Evgeni Malkin-Patrick Kane Alexis Lafreniere-Nick Suzuki-Trevor Zegras Nick Robertson-Jack Hughes-Jesse Puljujarvi Sam Steel-Gabriel Vilardi-Filip Zadina Defenders Quinn Hughes-John Carlson Miro Heiskanen-Charlie McAvoy Tony DeAngelo-Adam Fox Goaltenders Carter Hart Brian Elliott Extra Skaters: Morgan Geekie (F), Brendan Lemieux (F), Drew Doughty (D) IR/LTIR: Kirby Dach (F)



Monarchs Forwards Miles Wood-Pierre-Luc Dubois-Eric Robinson Alex Killorn-Anthony Cirelli-Yanni Gourde Lawson Crouse-Colton Sissons-Christian Fischer Kyle Clifford-Devin Shore-Ross Johnston Defenders Victor Hedman-Nikita Zadorov Nathan Beaulieu-Jake McCabe Jarred Tinordi-Nick Holden Goaltenders Tristan Jarry Ben Bishop Extra Skaters: Carter Verhaeghe (F), Yakov Trenin (F) IR/LTIR: Nikita Kucherov (F), Zack Smith (F)



Generals Forwards Patrik Laine-Clayton Keller-Troy Terry Austin Wagner-Barrett Hayton-Joel Farabee Nick Cousins-Artem Anisimov-Cedric Paquette Conor Sheary-Jay Beagle-Stefan Noesen Defenders Thomas Chabot-Mattias Ekholm Ryan McDonagh-Nikita Zaitsev Carl Gunnarsson-Braydon Coburn Goaltenders Thatcher Demko Pavel Francouz Extra Skaters: Dryden Hunt (F), Lane Pederson (F), Kyle Capobianco (D) IR/LTIR: Tyler Seguin (F), Vladimir Tarasenko (F), Brandon Dubinsky (F), Julius Honka (D), Brendan Guhle (D)



Battlehawks Forwards Jesper Bratt-Mark Scheifele-Alex Tuch Michael Dal Colle-John Tavares-Alex Galchenyuk Mattias Janmark-Ryan O’Reilly-Blake Comeau Jacob de la Rose-Nick Bonino-Luke Glendening Defenders John Klingberg-Brandon Carlo David Savard-Zach Bogosian Cody Ceci-Greg Pateryn Goaltenders Semyon Varlamov Jaroslav Halak Extra Skaters: Lawrence Pilut (D), Derrick Pouliot (D), Vinni Lettieri (F) IR/LTIR: Zemgus Girgensons (F)



Stallions Forwards Matthew Tkachuk-Anze Kopitar-Zack Kassian Christian Dvorak-Bo Horvat-Nick Schmaltz Brandon Saad-Kyle Turris-Dylan Cozens Mikhail Grigorenko-Tyler Bozak-Alex Chiasson Defenders Nate Schmidt-Brett Pesce Adam Pelech-Kevin Shattenkirk Andy Greene-Matt Benning Goaltenders Elvis Merzlikins Chris Driedger Extra Skaters: Tage Thompson (F), Joe Hicketts (D)



Godfathers Forwards Conor Garland-Adrian Kempe-Mikko Rantanen James Neal-Colin White-Jakob Silfverberg Robby Fabbri-Nick Bjugstad-Joonas Donskoi Alexander Volkov-Jordan Martinook-Evan Rodrigues Defenders Matt Grzelcyk-Marc-Edouard Vlasic Radim Simek-Sami Niku Scott Harrington-Max Lajoie Goaltenders Carey Price Jonathan Quick Extra Skaters: Rudolfs Balcers (F)



Norse Stars Forwards Joel Kiviranta-Matt Duchene-Ryan Johansen Richard Panik-Kevin Hayes-Nick Merkley Derek Grant-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Curtis Lazar Mackenzie MacEachern-Gaetan Haas-Colin Blackwell Defenders Ryan Suter-Erik Karlsson Esa Lindell-Zach Whitecloud Jeremy Lauzon-Connor Clifton Goaltenders Collin Delia Casey DeSmith Extra Skaters: Janne Kuokkanen (F), Dakota Mermis (D) Lemieux Division



Yetis Forwards Artemi Panarin-Connor McDavid-Mitch Marner Anthony Mantha-Nic Roy-Brock Boeser Patrick Marleau-Barclay Goodrow-Drake Batherson Matt Calvert-Cody Eakin-Bryan Rust Defenders Zach Werenski-Neal Pionk Ryan Lindgren-Conor Timmins Mikey Anderson-Jakob Zboril Goaltenders Joonas Korpisalo Mackenzie Blackwood Extra Skaters: Jayce Hawryluk (F), Carter Rowney (F), Trevor van Riemsdyk (D)



Ice Vikings Forwards Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Oliver Bjorkstrand Brady Tkachuk-Robert Thomas-Tom Wilson Evander Kane-Sean Monahan-Kasperi Kapanen Adam Gaudette-Joel Eriksson Ek-Boone Jenner Defenders Josh Morrissey-Jake Muzzin Alex Edler-Jamie Oleksiak Brenden Dillon-Radko Gudas Goaltenders John Gibson Aaron Dell Extra Skaters: Brett Howden (F), Tyler Pitlick (F), Luca Sbisa (D)



Blades of Steel Forwards Gabriel Landeskog-Auston Matthews-Jakub Vrana Brayden Schenn-Mathew Barzal-Nikolaj Ehlers Jake DeBrusk-Mikael Backlund-Josh Anderson Ilya Mikheyev-David Kampf-Connor Brown Defenders Ian Cole-John Marino Haydn Fleury-Sean Walker Jon Merrill-Jonas Siegenthaler Goaltenders Ilya Samsonov Darcy Kuemper Extra Skaters: Sammy Blais (F), Juuso Riikola (D)



Warriors Forwards Owen Tippett-Elias Pettersson-Alexander Radulov Zach Parise-Anders Lee-Blake Wheeler Filip Chytil-Jordan Staal-Derek Ryan Dylan Sikura-Antti Suomela-Sam Lafferty Defenders Ivan Provorov-Jared Spurgeon Brady Skjei-Devon Toews Calvin de Haan-Christian Wolanin Goaltenders Petr Mrazek Anton Khudobin Extra Skaters: Sebastian Aho (D), Brogan Rafferty (D)



Stingrays Forwards Jake Guentzel-Sean Couturier-Cam Atkinson Alex DeBrincat-Elias Lindholm-Viktor Arvidsson Zach Sanford-Josh Bailey-Ryan Hartman Jimmy Vesey-Dylan Gambrell-Drake Caggiula Defenders Cam Fowler-Brent Burns Michael Matheson-Tyson Barrie Brayden McNabb-Troy Stecher Goaltenders Cam Talbot Laurent Brossoit Extra Skaters: Matt Martin (F), Adam Erne (F), Matt Irwin (D) IR/LTIR: Oscar Klefbom (D)



Blizzard Forwards Travis Konecny-Patrice Bergeron-Kaapo Kakko Blake Coleman-Max Domi-Rickard Rakell Tyler Ennis-Casey Cizikas-Ryan Strome Carl Soderberg-Radek Faksa-Ryan Carpenter Defenders Hampus Lindholm-Robert Hagg Alex Goligoski-Colin Miller Anthony Bitetto-Kevan Miller Goaltenders Thomas Greiss Jonathan Bernier Extra Skaters: Nic Deslauriers (F), Jacob Middleton (D) IR/LTIR: Gustav Nyquist (F)



Crypto Knights Forwards Taylor Hall-Scott Laughton-Mark Stone David Perron-Brock Nelson-Ondrej Kase Antoine Roussel-Sonny Milano-Andrew Mangiapane Michael Raffl-Austin Czarnik-Dominik Simon Defenders Mark Giordano-Roman Josi Jordan Oesterle-Dmitry Orlov Dennis Cholowski-Luke Schenn Goaltenders Martin Jones Devan Dubnyk Extra Skaters: Mason Appleton (F), Tomas Jurco (F), Fredrik Claesson (D) IR/LTIR: Zach Aston-Reese (F)



Eliminators Forwards Jakub Voracek-Steven Stamkos-Martin Necas Dillon Dube-Dylan Strome-Sam Reinhart Josh Leivo-Cody Glass-Alexandre Texier Lucas Wallmark-Vinnie Hinostroza-Cal Clutterbuck Defenders Alex Pietrangelo-Kris Russell Ryan Murray-Dmitry Kulikov Andrej Sekera-Markus Nutivaara Goaltenders Tuukka Rask David Rittich Extra Skaters: Slater Koekkoek (D), Steven Santini (D) Legends Conference Orr Division



Strong Island Forwards Andrei Svechnikov-Aleksander Barkov-Alex Iafallo Danton Heinen-Brayden Point-Filip Forsberg Ryan Dzingel-Adam Henrique-Marcus Sorensen Zion Nybeck-Jason Dickinson-John Hayden Defenders Rasmus Dahlin-Dougie Hamilton Darnell Nurse-Matt Dumba Christian Djoos-Tucker Poolman Goaltenders Braden Holtby Adin Hill Extra Skaters: Jack Johnson (D) IR/LTIR: Alex Stalock (G)



Titans Forwards Andreas Johnsson-William Nylander-Victor Olofsson Andre Burakovsky-Ivan Barbashev-Pavel Buchnevich Bobby Ryan-Oskar Lindblom-Jordan Eberle Nick Ritchie-Nicolas Aube-Kubel-Marcus Foligno Defenders Morgan Rielly-Cale Makar Travis Dermott-Brandon Montour Philippe Myers-MacKenzie Weegar Goaltenders Andrei Vasilevskiy Linus Ullmark Extra Skaters: Rasmus Sandin (D), Cal Foote (D), Eeli Tolvanen (F) IR/LTIR: David Pastrnak (F)



Rock Republic Forwards Timo Meier-Jack Eichel-Luke Kunin Jesperi Kotkaniemi-Sebastian Aho-Jake Virtanen Tanner Pearson-Sam Bennett-Garrett Hathaway William Carrier-Nick Paul-Austin Watson Defenders Noah Hanifin-Rasmus Andersson Joel Edmundson-Connor Murphy Mark Boroweicki-Mario Ferraro Goaltenders Jordan Binnington Marc-Andre Fleury Extra Skaters: Max Jones (F), Morgan Frost (F), Henri Jokiharju (D) IR/LTIR: Kurtis MacDermid (D)



Brutes Forwards Zach Hyman-Sidney Crosby-Logan Couture David Krejci-Eric Staal-Chris Tierney Trevor Moore-Alex Kerfoot-Emil Bemstrom Michael Amadio-Jason Spezza-Travis Boyd Defenders Shea Weber-Duncan Keith Damon Severson-Samuel Girard Will Butcher-Vince Dunn Goaltenders Phillip Grubauer James Reimer Extra Skaters: Brad Hunt (D), Mikko Lehtonen (D), Adam Brooks (F) IR/LTIR: Alex Nylander (F)



Elite Assassins Forwards Kyle Connor-Jamie Benn-Tyler Toffoli Grigori Denisenko-Nico Hischier-Evgenii Dadonov Patric Hornqvist-Nick Foligno-Nils Hoglander Adam Lowry-Oskar Sundqvist-Jordan Greenway Defenders Dylan DeMelo-Jacob Trouba Scott Mayfield-Adam Larsson Urho Vaakanainen-Scott Perunovich Goaltenders Mikko Koskinen Cal Petersen Extra Skaters: Oliver Wahlstrom (F), Joakim Nygard (F), Oliver Kylington (D)



Kamikaze Forwards Milan Lucic-Andrew Shaw-Michael Frolik Matt Nieto-Andrew Cogliano-Mathieu Perreault Teddy Blueger-Riley Sheahan-Colton Sceviour Joakim Nordstrom-Frederik Gauthier-Kevin Rooney Defenders Justin Braun-P.K. Subban Erik Gudbranson-Josh Manson Brett Kulak-John Moore Goaltenders Jacob Markstrom Marcus Hogberg Extra Skaters: Connor Carrick (D), Noah Juulsen (D), Nic Petan (F) IR/LTIR: Henrik Lundqvist (G), Anders Nilsson (G)



Snipers Forwards Jonathan Drouin-Nicklas Backstrom-Reilly Smith Erik Haula-Roope Hintz-Joel Armia Paul Byron-Lars Eller-Derick Brassard Martin Frk-Alex Turcotte-Julien Gauthier Defenders Justin Faulk-Ryan Ellis Alexander Romanov-Jeff Petry Juuso Valimaki-Sami Vatanen Goaltenders Matt Murray Ville Husso Extra Skaters: Marco Scandella (D), Robert Bortuzzo (D), Leo Komarov (F) IR/LTIR: Stephen Johns (D)



Duckman’s Domination Forwards Brett Connolly-Nolan Patrick-Phil Kessel Loui Eriksson-Travis Zajac-Mikael Granlund Mark Jankowski-Casey Mittelstadt-Brandon Pirri Riley Nash-Nate Thompson-Jordan Weal Defenders Jake Gardiner-T.J. Brodie Marc Staal-Dante Fabbro Brendan Smith-Patrik Nemeth Goaltenders Antii Raanta Scott Wedgewood Extra Skaters: Charles Hudon (F), Jason Demers (D), William Lagesson (D) Howe Division



Outlaws Forwards Max Pacioretty-Dylan Larkin-Jonathan Marchessault Nino Niederreiter-Tomas Hertl-T.J. Oshie Andrew Copp-Vincent Trocheck-Kyle Palmieri Johan Larsson-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Reaves Defenders Torey Krug-Colton Parayko Caleb Jones-Rasmus Ristolainen Derek Forbort-Filip Hronek Goaltenders Juuse Saros Pekka Rinne Extra Skaters: Nic Dowd (F), Noah Gregor (F), Ilya Lyubushkin (D)



Gators Forwards Valeri Nichushkin-Nathan MacKinnon-James van Riemsdyk Wayne Simmonds-J.T. Miller-Frank Vatrano Josh Archibald-Calle Jarnkrok-Craig Smith Evan Barratt-Philip Tomasino-Anders Bjork Defenders Jaccob Slavin-Kris Letang Alec Martinez-Keith Yandle Zdeno Chara-Travis Hamonic Goaltenders Fredrik Andersen Craig Anderson Extra Skaters: Mark Pysyk (D/F), Mike Reilly (D)



West Coast Express Forwards Johnny Gaudreau-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Nikita Gusev Brad Marchand-Pius Suter-Jason Zucker Tyler Bertuzzi-Marcus Johansson-Brendan Gallagher Corey Perry-Tyler Motte-Jordan Kyrou Defenders Shea Theodore-Aaron Ekblad Vladislav Gavrikov-Shayne Gostisbehere Erik Gustafsson-Noah Dobson Goaltenders Robin Lehner Curtis McElhinney Extra Skaters: Rocco Grimaldi (F), Brad Richardson (F), Olli Juolevi (D)



Royals Forwards Alex Ovechkin-Kevin Fiala-Jonathan Huberdeau Denis Gurianov-Tomas Tatar-Mike Hoffman Ondrej Palat-Joe Thornton-Dominik Kubalik Brandon Tanev-Jack Studnicka-Daniel Sprong Defenders Jakob Chychrun-Ryan Pulock Ben Chiarot-Tyler Myers Olli Maatta-Carson Soucy Goaltenders Ilya Sorokin Jake Allen Extra Skaters: Blake Lizotte (F), Jake Evans (F), Ville Heinola (D)



Tornadoes Forwards Ryan Donato-Tyson Jost-Kevin Labanc Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Alexander Wennberg Tomas Nosek-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Victor Rask Carl Grundstrom-Matthew Highmore-Matt Luff Defenders Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Nick Leddy Danny DeKeyser-Chris Tanev Josh Mahura-Andrew Peeke Goaltenders Jack Campbell Eric Comrie Extra Skaters: Zach Senyshyn (F), Jeremy Bracco (F) IR/LTIR: Jonathan Toews (F), Micheal Ferland (F)



Mystics Forwards Anthony Beauvillier-Claude Giroux-Charlie Coyle Pavel Zacha-Paul Stastny-Joe Pavelski Chandler Stephenson-Mitchell Stephens-Mathieu Joseph Brock McGinn-Jansen Harkins-Jack Roslovic Defenders Travis Sanheim-Seth Jones Erik Johnson-Erik Cernak Josh Brown-Anton Stralman Goaltenders Mike Smith Carter Hutton Extra Skaters: Chris Wagner (F), Justin Abdelkader (F), Jan Rutta (D) IR/LTIR: Mats Zuccarello (F)



Dynasty Forwards Anthony Duclair-Phillip Danault-Dustin Brown Jeff Carter-Ryan Getzlaf-Andreas Anthanasiou Jeff Skinner-Tyler Johnson-Vladislav Namestnikov Artturi Lehkonen-Sam Gagner-Pat Maroon Defenders Brian Dumoulin-Justin Holl Kale Clague-Jonas Brodin Ben Hutton-Jacob Larsson Goaltenders Malcolm Subban Vitek Vanecek Extra Skaters: Victor Mete (D), Brinson Pasichnuk (D), Tobias Rieder (F) IR/LTIR: Sergei Bobrovsky (G), Michal Kempny (D)


Fantrax Projections Based on these opening-night rosters, this is how the overall standings would play out according to Fantrax’s projected point totals: 1) Red Army — 2971.05 2) Grizzlies — 2870.30 3) Ice Vikings — 2822.55 4) Titans — 2699.10 5) Outlaws — 2617.30 6) Blades of Steel — 2562.20 7) Royals — 2545.30 8) Yetis — 2537.40 9) West Coast Express — 2491.85 10) Rock Republic — 2481.40 11) Stingrays — 2460.95 12) Blizzard — 2361.25 13) Strong Island — 2328.30 14) Snipers — 2221.80 15) Gators — 2220.65 16) Brutes — 2220.20 17) Generals — 2206.75 18) Stallions — 2199.00 19) Crypto Knights — 2197.95 20) Monarchs — 2186.10 21) Elite Assassins — 2118.20 22) Warriors — 2114. 10 23) Dynasty — 2072.90 24) Mystics — 2057.05 25) Battlehawks — 2027.20 26) Eliminators — 2013.30 27) Godfathers — 1863.20 28) Norse Stars — 1672.65 29) Kamikaze — 1475.65 30) Duckman’s Domination — 1378.30 31) Tornadoes — 1369.50 Here are the division standings, according to Fantrax’s projections, with the top four from each division qualifying for the Klein Cup playoffs: Allan Conference Gretzky Division 1) Red Army — 2971.05 2) Grizzlies — 2870.30 17) Generals — 2206.75 18) Stallions — 2199.00 20) Monarchs — 2186.10 25) Battlehawks — 2027.20 27) Godfathers — 1863.20 28) Norse Stars — 1672.65 Lemieux Division 3) Ice Vikings — 2822.55 6) Blades of Steel — 2562.20 8) Yetis — 2537.40 11) Stingrays — 2460.95 12) Blizzard — 2361.25 19) Crypto Knights — 2197.95 22) Warriors — 2114. 10 26) Eliminators — 2013.30 Legends Conference Orr Division 4) Titans — 2699.10 10) Rock Republic — 2481.40 13) Strong Island — 2328.30 14) Snipers — 2221.80 16) Brutes — 2220.20 21) Elite Assassins — 2118.20 29) Kamikaze — 1475.65 30) Duckman’s Domination — 1378.30 Howe Division 5) Outlaws — 2617.30 7) Royals — 2545.30 9) West Coast Express — 2491.85 15) Gators — 2220.65 23) Dynasty — 2072.90 24) Mystics — 2057.05 31) Tornadoes — 1369.50 The actual UFHL standings can be viewed on Fantrax. To view the franchises’ protected lists and scout-owned prospects, check out the UFHL Sheets. Follow the UFHL on Twitter: @ufhleague

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