The start of the NHL 2019 season is just around the corner and we're as excited to see the opening games as any hockey fan in the country. So while we wait for the season opener, all the while praying and hoping that no lockout happens, let's look back at the past season in terms of the teams’ revenue, income, and net worth. Forbes released the numbers and ranked the most valuable NHL teams of the 2018-2019 season. It's time to reminisce those Sharks-Knights and Maple Leafs-Bruins rivalries and hope to see more fights involving the "Muffin Man" according to Sharks left winger Evander Kane. Brawls aside, here are the 10 financial heavy-hitting teams of the past NHL season.
10 Washington Capitals
There's nothing better for team owner Ted Leonsis to be ranked at the bottom of a top ten list than a 2018 Stanley Cup to wave around the owners ahead of him. The last time this franchise came close to a championship was exactly 20 years ago when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. As sourced by Forbes, the Washington Capitals' current value is $725 million, not bad as the 10th richest out of 31 teams in the NHL. We can't wait to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov and team captain and 2018-19 Maurice Richard awardee Alexander Ovechkin score goals again this coming season. They were ousted early in the playoffs last year, this time they're in it to reclaim the title.
9 Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks is one of the most successful teams in the NHL with no championships won yet. This team has been a consistent playoff contender 27 times in the last 48 years. They've been division champ 11 times and conference leaders 3 times. Two of the three times they were at the Stanley Cup Finals the series came down to the 7th game but they lost both in '93 and '10. Although the last four seasons were disappointing for fans, the franchise is still the 9th team with the highest value in all of the NHL, Forbes reports it was $735 million. The Canucks two best skaters are rookie sensation and Calder Memorial trophy winner Elias Pettersson and center Bo Horvat.
8 Detroit Red Wings
One of the most beloved team owners in the history of sports is Mike Ilitch. For 35 long years he was the man behind one of the greatest franchises in the history of the NFL. He passed two years ago but the legacy is being continued by his wife Marian. That legacy led the Detroit Red Wings to a $775 million value last season according to Forbes. Before the 2016 season, the only time this team did not make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in the past 16 years was when the league had a lockout in 2004. That didn't mess with their momentum as they went on 11 straight playoff appearances, including two Stanley Cups in 2007 and 2008.
7 Philadelphia Flyers
In the 50 years that the Philadelphia Flyers have been in the NHL, they were only out of the playoffs 12 times, that's a high 76% playoff berth. It's also why this team is one of the most valuable teams in the league. Forbes reports that the Flyers value was $800 million at the end of last year, good for 7th place out of 31 teams. Top Flyers players includes one of the highest-paid centerman in the league, Claude Giroux ($5 million/year base salary), and high-scoring teammate Sean Couturier. The Flyers have never won a Stanley Cup but are 8-time conference champions. The teams' first home game this coming season is on October 9th against the New Jersey Devils.
6 Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar's salary is not like Connor McDavid's $19 million, but it's still a hefty $11 million/year base salary for the full-time Los Angeles Kings center. The Kings surely have had a nice ROI from Kopitar's $80 million contract they inked three years ago as they land on the 6th spot of the most valuable teams in the NHL.
Forbes numbers show that the Los Angeles Kings were valued at $810 million, this is after two glorious campaigns in 2011 and 2013 where they took home the Stanley Cup. The success is also because any team that signs The Great One is bound to be a bankable franchise for years to come, even long after Gretzky retired.
5 Boston Bruins
Don Sweeney is GM of the Boston Bruins, he is also the recipient of last year's General Manager of the Year Award. This success is paired with a recognition for team owner Jeremy Jacobs as they clinch the 5th most valuable NHL team. Jacobs' Bruins team is valued at $925 million according to Forbes. We also have to mention that this success is largely due to the franchise's 11 Stanley Cups, the most recent of which was in 2010. It was almost the last year if not for the very convincing Game 7 defeat served to them by defending champs St. Louis Blues. With that loss the Boston Bruins are still the 4th team in NHL history with the most championships.
4 Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane leads the way for the Chicago Blackhawks and why this team is such a joy to watch. Kane is 3rd in the league last season in points scored with 17 game-winning points. But the Hawks team also celebrate a financial win, as their team is the 4th most valuable team in the NHL. Forbes states that a $1.1 billion mark is the value for the Chicago Blackhawks and that puts a smile on owner Rocky Wirtz’s face. The Blackhawks is tied with the Bruins for the most Stanley Cups at 6, the last three were just recently in 2009, 2012, and 2014.
3 Montreal Canadiens
The NHL has been around for a little over 50 years, and in almost half of those seasons, it was the Montreal Canadiens who's always grabbed the Stanley Cup. This team has a Stanley Cup Finals win percentage of 62.5%, this means they only lost in the Finals 9 times. It might be a long-ago dynasty, their last championship was a decade and a half ago, but the semi-drought will not diminish the absolute domination this franchise has imposed on the league and the rest of the 30 competitors. With that being said, it also sits near the summit of the financial mountain as the 3rd most valuable team reported by Forbes - the Montreal Canadiens are worth $1.3 billion.
2 Toronto Maple Leafs
They may be behind the Montreal Canadiens with the total number of Stanley Cups won, but the Toronto Maple Leafs still have a commanding lead over the rest of the teams at 13 championships (except for the Red Wings at 11). What the Canadiens can't lord over the Maple Leafs is their position as the more valuable team in the league. The Toronto-based team is worth $150 million more than their Montreal nemesis, Forbes placed them at 2nd with a value of $1.45 billion. They also employ the second-highest paid hockey player in John Tavares. Hockey is such a big sport in Canada that two of the most successful NHL teams are not enough for the hungry fans.
1 New York Rangers
Magic always happens in Madison Square Garden, it's as simple as that. While the Knicks take a backseat at providing quality sports and entertainment (and wins) to the city of New York, the Rangers have remained a staple team to be excited about every season. They own four Stanley Cups and have been steady playoff contenders since 2005. They may be out of the postseason in the last two years, but still the franchise is considered the most valuable team in the NHL today. Forbes posted the New York Rangers value at $1.55 billion. James Dolan could never be happier, oh, unless maybe if the Knicks start winning too. What else can we say, it's just amazing to be a ticket holder at the Garden.