If a Forbes.com report is accurate, an ownership group might be able to acquire the Atlanta Thrashers for as little as $110 million. Obviously, that’s still a lot of money, but Forbes’ Mike Ozanian explains that there might be a few million reasons why the deal could be a decent gamble.
The No. 1 reason is that the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks are responsible for the arena’s bond payments, meaning the Thrashers just play a flat rent. If that doesn’t make sense to you, the simpler way to look at it is that the team could net about $7 million in non-ticket revenue because the Hawks basically run Phillips Arena.
It seems like Ozanian arrived at the $110 million number by the simple math of a deal that would potentially bring the Thrashers to Winnipeg. As we discussed before, True North Entertainment and Sports would likely attempt to relocate the Thrashers if the Coyotes stay in Phoenix. They would reportedly be willing to make that deal for $170 million, with $60 million of that money going to the NHL as part of a relocation fee. Long story short, that would mean that the Atlanta Spirit ownership group would get $110 million from that sale, so it makes sense that they’d take that much from a local group too.
Forbes values the Thrashers at $130 million and that is, indeed, a pretty cushy arena deal. That being said, the team only made one appearance in the playoffs (they were swept in 2007 by the New York Rangers) and have struggled with attendance issues for years. Ozanian said that the team has only been profitable in its first two seasons when Ted Turner served as their owner.
It’s an interesting proposition, though. If the team really is worth $130 million, then maybe a new ownership group could actually make it work in Atlanta after all. The team hasn’t ever been a consistent winner in their time, but new GM Rick Dudley is putting together some interesting pieces for the future.
We’ll just have to wait and see which city will end up cheering those promising young players on, though.
Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.
Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”
The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.
Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.
But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.
“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.
“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”
Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.
The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.
“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”
“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”
Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.
“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”
The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…