New York:The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most valuable NHL team, even though the Original Six franchise hasn't captured the Stanley Cup in 40 years, according to Forbes.
The value of the Maple Leafs has gone up 23 percent a year since the initial investment by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in 1994, said Forbes, which released its annual valuations of all 30 NHL teams on Thursday.
The Maple Leafs team has a value of $413 million (euro282 million), $48 million (euro33 million) more than the New York Rangers in second place.
The Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks rank 12th among the 30 teams with a value of $197 million (euro134 million), but that's quite a jump.
Two years ago, when the NHL lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season, Henry and Susan Samueli purchased the team.
They already controlled the Honda Center where the Ducks play and got the team for $70 million (euro48 million), only $20 million (euro14 million) more than The Walt Disney Company paid to launch the expansion club in 1992.
Ice hockey teams are worth more now than before the collective bargaining agreement that ended the lockout, Forbes said.
And player salaries are down to 54 percent of league revenues, and the salary cap ensures fixed costs.
That means buyers will pay a higher multiple of revenue to acquire a franchise, Forbes said.
The average ice hockey team is worth $180 million (euro123 million) and makes an operating profit of $4.2 million (euro2.9 million).
During the 2003-2004 season, the last before the lockout, the average hockey team was worth $163 million (euro111 million) and lost $3.2 million (euro2.2 million).
The Nashville Predators, at $143 million (euro97.5 million), have the lowest franchise value, Forbes said.
They are worth $1 million (euro680,000) less than the St. Louis Blues.
The Predators are currently up for sale, and team owner Craig Leipold gave local investors trying to buy the team more time last week to complete the purchase and keep the club in Nashville.
The group put down $10 million (euro6.8 million) as a deposit in August for the $193 million (euro132 million) purchase and faced a midnight deadline October 31 to finalize the sale or lose exclusive negotiating rights.