NEW YORK - For the third straight year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL's most valuable team, worth US$448 million.
The Leafs increased in value by nine per cent and easily were valued ahead of the New York Rangers in Forbes' annual rankings. The Rangers are worth $411 million.
Third on the list were the Montreal Canadiens at $334 million, followed by the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings ($303 million) and the Philadelphia Flyers ($275 million).
But the biggest increase in value was made by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who made the Stanley Cup finals last spring and boast stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Pittsburgh is worth $195 million, up a whopping 26 per cent.
The next biggest gainers were the Calgary Flames, up 24 per cent to $203 million, and the Minnesota Wild, who improved 21 per cent and are worth $217 million.
The average team value was $220 million; by comparison, the average for NFL teams this season was $1 billion, according to Forbes.
At the bottom of the list were Columbus ($157 million), the New York Islanders ($154 million), and Phoenix ($142 million). The Coyotes were the only team to go down in worth, by three per cent.
Toronto also led the list with $160 million in revenues, followed by Montreal ($139 million) and the Rangers ($137 million).
Ominously, 12 teams showed a negative operating income, including the Flyers (minus $1.8 million), and Boston Bruins (minus $3 million) - both top 10 franchises in total value.
On the Web: www.forbes.com/nhl