Jeremy M. Jacobs

Forbes profiles the NHL’s billionaire owners

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Interesting piece here from Tom Van Riper of Forbes Magazine about the 10 billionaire NHL owners.

(That’s 10 NHL owners that are classified as billionaires, of course. Not NHL owners that are worth $10 billion. I don’t think there are many of those.)

According to the piece, the NHL has just one fewer billionaire owner than the NBA, “where the median franchise value is about 67% higher.” The leagues share two billionaires — Philip Anschutz (Kings/Lakers) and Stan Kroenke (Avalanche/Nuggets) — which means the NHL has eight other billionaires we haven’t mentioned yet.

How many more times can I write the word billionaire? Keep reading to find out!

[NB: Just to reiterate, this is all from the Forbes list.]

Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins

Jacobs’ net worth is an estimated $1.9 billion, made primarily through his food and hospitality company (Delaware North). He took control of the Bruins in 1975 and later made two key hires that played an integral role in the recent Stanley Cup Championship: GM Peter Chiarelli and President Cam Neely. Getting rid of Harry Sinden as GM was also a shrewd move.

Ronald Burkle, Pittsburgh Penguins

Burkle co-owns the Pens with Mario Lemieux. His estimated net worth is $3.2 billion, made in part from the supermarket game (and we’re not talking about bagging groceries.) That said, Burkle seems to have dabbled in all sorts of business ventures, which you can read about here.

Philip Falcone, Minnesota Wild

Founder of the Harbinger Group, Falcone’s net worth is believed to be at $2.2 billion (putting him at No. 188 on the Forbes 400.) He grew up in Minnesota and played hockey at Harvard. His pet potbellied pig has its own room in his Manhattan town house. Seriously.

Mike Ilitch, Detroit Red Wings

The owner of the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers founded Little Caesars Pizza in 1959, shortly after a knee injury ended his minor-league baseball career. His current net worth is $2 billion. He was inducted into the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Terry Pegula, Buffalo Sabres

Pegula made his fortune ($3.1 billion) in gas drilling, then spent most of it on Christian Ehrhoff.

N. Murray Edwards, Calgary Flames

Edwards is a “self-made oil and gas tycoon” which is also his official title on business cards. It’s a real hit with the ladies. In addition to natural resources, he owns a series of ski resorts and co-owns the hockey team through Calgary Flames, L.P.

Daryl Katz, Edmonton Oilers

Katz (pronounced “Kates”) is Canada’s 16th wealthiest citizen. He’s the chairman and CEO of The Katz Group, Canada’s leading drug store operator — not coincidentally, the Oilers play at Rexall Place. Katz has been in the news recently as the city of Edmonton recently signed off on funding for a new arena deal.

Henry Samueli, Anaheim Ducks

Samueli is the co-founder, senior VP and CTO of the Broadcom Corporation. He bought the Mighty Ducks from Disney in 2005, dropped the “Mighty” in 2006 and won a Stanley Cup in 2007. Clearly, this is a guy that gets results. He’s worth $1.7 billion.

Report: Journeyman Santorelli signs in Swiss League

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 02:  Mike Santorelli #25 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on during a game against the Montreal Canadiens at Honda Center on March 2, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Veteran forward Mike Santorelli, who’s appeared in over 400 NHL contests over the last eight years, is headed overseas.

Per multiple reports (see here and here), Santorelli has signed with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss League. The 30-year-old spent last season with the Ducks, scoring nine goals and 18 points in 70 games but didn’t dress for any of the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Nashville.

Santorelli broke into the NHL with Nashville but enjoyed his best years with Florida and Vancouver. He was a former 20-goal scorer with the Panthers and enjoyed a successful stint with his hometown Canucks in ’13-14, scoring 28 points in 49 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Santorelli is the second veteran forward to sign in the Swiss League recently. Over the weekend, fellow journeyman Kris Versteeg agreed to join SC Bern.

Jackets sign d-man Harrington, acquired in Rychel trade

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 14:  Scott Harrington #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on November 14, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Canucks 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Upon trading Kerby Rychel to Toronto at the draft for Scott Harrington, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Harrington was “a guy we’ve watched for a while,” and a “steady, smart [and] good defender.”

Which makes today’s move none too surprising.

On Monday, Kekalainen announced Harrington signed a one-year, two-way deal (financial terms weren’t disclosed). The contract comes after Harrington split last season between the Leafs and the AHL Marlies, appearing in 15 NHL contests.

While Kekalainen was high on Harrington, the most noteworthy thing about the acquisition is it ended a long-running saga with Rychel, the 19th overall pick in 2013. There were repeated rumblings that Rychel wanted out of town, and felt stifled by Columbus’ reluctance to make him a full-time NHLer.

For a while, Kekalainen stood firm in the face of the reports, once openly wondering where they came from. But in the end, the decision was made to part ways with the 21-year-old, the son of ex-NHLer Warren Rychel.

As for Harrington, he should compete for a spot on the Columbus blueline next season. Right now he projects to be the No. 7 or 8 guy, assuming that super prospect Zach Werenski is primed for a full-time gig in the NHL, firmly entrenched in the Blue Jackets’ top six.

In other news from Columbus today, the club has also agreed to terms with AHL forward Alex Broadhurst.

One of the pieces acquired in last summer’s Brandon Saad blockbuster, Broadhurst was a key contributor to AHL Lake Erie’s Calder Cup championship this past spring, finishing second on the club in playoff assists.

Leafs avoid arbitration again, sign Corrado to one year, $600K deal

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 13: Frank Corrado #20 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots the puck in NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks on February, 13, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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Over the weekend, reports suggested that Toronto and RFA blueliner Frank Corrado were close to agreeing to a new contract.

On Monday, the two sides sealed the deal.

The Leafs announced they signed Corrado to a one-year contract, with Sportsnet reporting it to be a $600,00 pact, of the one-way variety.

Corrado, 23, was scheduled to go to arbitration tomorrow. His ask was $900,000, while the Leafs countered with a $625,000 figure on a two-way deal, and $575,000 on a one-way.

So Toronto was nearly spot-on with its valuation.

The former Canucks draftee took a while to make his Leafs debut last season — he sat 28 games after they claimed him off waivers — but when he did get into the lineup, he fared reasonably well. Corrado finished with a goal and six points in 39 games, averaging 14:27 TOI per game.

This marks the second player Toronto avoided going to arbitration with. Prior to signing Corrado, the Leafs inked center Peter Holland to a one-year, $1.3 million deal.

Flyers need Schenn to build on career year

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Brayden Schenn #10 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his goal in the second period against the New York Rangers on April 7, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping Brayden Schenn hasn’t finished improving. The former fifth overall draft pick signed a four-year, $20.5 million contract today, after posting career highs in goals (26) and assists (33) in 2015-16.

It took a few years for Schenn, 24, to start justifying his draft position. John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene, and Evander Kane were selected with the first four picks that year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was taken sixth overall.

So there was pressure.

“I think sometimes when you draft a player top five you tend to think he’s going to develop a little quicker than other guys,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall said Monday, per Flyzette. “When you look at Brayden, has he been a fast developer? I would say probably no. Has he been a slow developer? I would say probably no. He’s probably been average.

“The good thing is he’s gotten better every year and he’s a hard worker. He’s starting to figure out the intricacies of the game. He obviously had his best year to this point so hopefully he continues to build on that.”

Hextall reportedly danced around a question about Schenn being part of the “core” group, so there’s still some proving to be done. The Flyers have already committed long-term to forwards Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier. Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl have three years left on their deals, and Dale Weise signed a four-year agreement on July 1.

As for Schenn, he knows he needs to justify the Flyers’ trust in his ongoing development.

“I feel like I keep getting better and better,” he said. “I expect nothing else next year.”