Maple Leafs most valuable NHL team for fourth straight year

NEW YORK – For the fourth straight year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL’s most valuable team, according to Forbes magazine’s annual survey.

The Leafs are worth US$470 million, an increase of five per cent over last year. They easily are worth more than the next franchise, the New York Rangers at $416 million, up just one per cent.

The original six franchises are in the top seven, with only Philadelphia at No. 5 breaking that monopoly. Montreal is third ($339 million), followed by Detroit ($337 million), Philadelphia ($273 million), Boston ($271 million) and Chicago ($258 million).

The Vancouver Canucks ($239 million) were the next highest Canadian team coming in at ninth. Calgary ($200 million) was 16th; Ottawa ($197) 17th; and Edmonton ($166 million) – the lowest-valued Canadian team – at 24th.

Chicago has the biggest rise in value, up 26 per cent, followed by Washington at 15 per cent to $183 million.

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The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins rank 11th at $222 million.

The average value of the 30 teams is $223 million, a slight increase over the $220 million of 2008.

Not surprisingly, the Phoenix Coyotes, with all their ownership issues, have the lowest worth, $138 million. And 14 teams – nearly half the league – went down in value, ranging from Colorado decreasing by 11 per cent to Philadelphia falling one per cent.

Toronto has, by far, the most operating income, $78.9 million, Forbes reported. Second in operating income is Montreal at $31.3 million.

The Leafs are tops in revenues, too, at $168 million, followed by the Rangers at $139 million.

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