OK, that's not a shock at all, the Leafs are always atop the most valuable franchises list year in and year out. It only helps matters that they made the playoffs last season and are enjoying a strong start to this campaign as well.
It shouldn't be a surprise though, we're talking about a team in a major Canadian city, of course they're valuable. The trend holds for all the Canadian teams just as you would expect. The Canadiens (third) and Canucks (fourth) join them at the top of the list. Here are the five most valuable franchises this year:
One of the more interesting valuations comes on the Winnipeg Jets at 16th (lowest of the Canadian teams, mind you) in the league. Their value is up to $340 million which shouldn't be a terribly big surprise given the rabid fan base they have. Just remember they were purchased for $170 million (that included a $60 million relocation fee) a couple of years ago and you see Mark Chipman and True North made one excellent investment. The business is certainly alive and very well north of the border.
At the other end of the spectrum, life isn't as ... rich. The least valuable franchise in the NHL is the Columbus Blue Jackets who are worth almost $1 billion less than the Maple Leafs.
The bottom five:
Even if those teams aren't exactly raking in the dough, values and revenues are up all across the game and that's good news for everybody. Forbes claims values are up some 46 percent across the league and while some question the valuations, it's pretty clear that values are on the rise.
You can see more about the Business of Hockey at Forbes' site.