It’s been two years since the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens welcomed the Chicago Blackhawks to the club as the NHL’s lone billion-dollar franchises, but according to the latest round of estimated valuations, there is now a fifth franchise worth 10 figures.
Forbes released its annual list of franchise valuations Wednesday, and after a season in which Boston fought its way through the Eastern Conference and into the Stanley Cup final for the third time in the post-lockout era, the Bruins scored a billion-dollar estimated valuation. That makes Boston the fifth Original Six franchise with an estimated worth of $1 billion or more and comes on the heels of a season in which they had an approximate revenue in the $228-million range. By that measure, the Bruins ranked fourth in the NHL in 2019, behind only the Maple Leafs, Canadiens and Rangers.
When it comes to keeping up with the top dog, though, Boston still lags behind. The Rangers, who have been valued at more than $1 billion since 2014 and topped Forbes’ list for a fourth consecutive year, have an estimated value of $1.65 billion. That marks a six percent increase from last year’s $1.55-billion valuation, putting the Blueshirts well ahead of the Maple Leafs ($1.5 billion), Canadiens ($1.34 billion) and Blackhawks ($1.085 billion). The Rangers’ year-over-year increase in value is greater than the three aforementioned teams, as well. However, it’s not the greatest rise among all franchises. Not even close.
After an off-season in which they landed the first-overall pick and selected blue-chipper Jack Hughes and acquired defenseman P.K. Subban, among other notable moves, the New Jersey Devils have made the hardest charge up the list. Valued in December 2018 at $455 million, this year’s Forbes ranking has New Jersey at a value of roughly $550 million. That moves the Devils four spots up the overall list to 15th place. Other organizations that made notable gains in the estimated valuations include the New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche. Each franchise saw an increase of 10 percent or more in value.
Also on that list, though not mentioned above, are the Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis Blues, whose value increased a reported 14 percent to $530 million, making the defending champions the 17th-most valuable franchise in the league. The Blues, who had a reported $2-million decrease in year-to-year revenue in 2018 according to last season’s rankings, increased their revenues by $23 million, in large part thanks to their deep playoff run and Stanley Cup victory. St. Louis’ Stanley Cup final opponent, Boston, is the only franchise that saw a larger year-to-year revenue increase. The Bruins’ generated a reported $228 million last season, up from $191 million in 2018, an increase of $37 million.
On the other end of the spectrum, a few teams in particular saw meager increases. The Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets each increased in value by one percent, according to Forbes.
For the Canucks, the slight increase was still enough to keep the franchise 10th on the valuation list, a full $75-million clear of the 11th-place Pittsburgh Penguins, and even the league’s resident newcomer Golden Knights were able to hold fast just outside the NHL’s 10 most valuable franchises. Vegas is down only one spot, from 12th to 13th, at an estimated value of $580 million. As for the Jets, the modest increase kept them near the bottom of the list. The $420-million valuation puts Winnipeg 27th on the list, and that comes after a projected revenue decrease of $8 million and amid a year in which Forbes reported the franchise’s operating income was $7.7 million in the red.
Even still, that puts Winnipeg – which has the lowest value among all Canadian franchises at $25 million less than the Ottawa Senators – leaps and bounds ahead of some of the teams that finished lowest on the list. To wit, the Buffalo Sabres, who made a seven-percent gain from 2018's valuations, still rank 28th on the list at $400 million. The Columbus Blue Jackets stayed stuck in 29th at an estimated value of $325 million. The Florida Panthers finished 30th on the list at $310 million. And at $300 million, the Arizona Coyotes, who at one point had leapfrogged the Blue Jackets and Panthers, are at the bottom for the third consecutive season.
Take a look at the full list of valuations below, via Forbes:
1. New York Rangers — $1.65 billion
2. Toronto Maple Leafs — $1.5 billion
3. Montreal Canadiens — $1.34 billion
4. Chicago Blackhawks — $1.085 billion
5. Boston Bruins — $1 billion
6. Los Angeles Kings — $850 million
7. Philadelphia Flyers — $825 million
8. Detroit Red Wings — $800 million
9. Washington Capitals — $775 million
10. Vancouver Canucks — $740 million
11. Pittsburgh Penguins — $665 million
12. Dallas Stars — $600 million
13. Vegas Golden Knights — $580 million
14. Edmonton Oilers — $575 million
15. New Jersey Devils — $550 million
16. San Jose Sharks — $540 million
17. St. Louis Blues — $530 million
18. New York Islanders — $520 million
19. Minnesota Wild — $510 million
20. Calgary Flames — $500 million
21. Anaheim Ducks — $480 million
22. Colorado Avalanche — $475 million
23. Tampa Bay Lightning — $470 million
24. Nashville Predators — $460 million
25. Carolina Hurricanes — $450 million
26. Ottawa Senators — $445 million
27. Winnipeg Jets — $420 million
28. Buffalo Sabres — $400 million
29. Columbus Blue Jackets — $326 million
30. Florida Panthers — $310 million
31. Arizona Coyotes — $300 million
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