Alexander Ovechkin Press Conference

Forbes list of NHL team values: 10 observations


For those with an interest in the business of the NHL, here are 10 observations about Forbes’ just-published list of franchise values. Other readers might find these observations boring. So let’s get right to it!

1. The Capitals have nearly doubled in value since 2004, from $115 million to $225 million. So say what you will about Alex Ovechkin underperforming his massive contract, he’s already made Ted Leonsis a pile of money on paper. No way Washington is worth as much without Ovi.

2. According to Forbes, the four teams carrying the most debt as a percentage of franchise value are New Jersey (144%), Dallas (126%), St. Louis (81%) and Carolina (77%). Forget the Stars, because they have a new owner now. But there’s a reason the Devils have reportedly been flirting with bankruptcy, the Blues are for sale, and the Hurricanes were forced to bring in a bunch of new investors. It’s a dangerous time to be highly leveraged.

3. The Winnipeg Jets are valued at $164 million. They were sold this summer for $110 million, plus a $60 million relocation fee paid to the NHL for the privilege of moving out of Atlanta. Now consider the NHL bought the Phoenix Coyotes for $140 million two years ago. Given the City of Glendale is covering annual losses up to $25 million, could the league end up making a profit on its purchase if the franchise relocates at the end of the season?

4. The Leafs’ operating income is estimated at $81.8 million, by far the most in the NHL. And that’s without any postseason revenue. Imagine if they actually make the playoffs this season. Tickets probably won’t be cheap.

5. The Flyers’ revenue fell by $10 million. Presumably the difference between making the Stanley Cup final in 2010 and losing in the second round last season.

6. Despite the economy, only seven teams are worth less today than they were last year. For those wondering why Gary Bettman makes a lot of money, there you go.

7. Over half the Islanders’ franchise value is attributed to its market, which Forbes says is worth $78 million. Nashville’s market, in contrast, is valued at just $52 million. Translation: the NHL will do everything it can to facilitate the building of a new arena that will keep the Isles where they are. You don’t walk away from affluent, densely-populated markets like Long Island without a fight.

8. The Rangers’ franchise value rose by $46 million over last year. The prospect of a renovated Madison Square Garden with all the additional revenue sources that come with modern arenas was a big reason why. They’re not sinking $850 million into MSG because it was looking a little drab.

9. The Toronto hockey market is estimated to be worth $254 million. Thus, the talk of adding a second team. Also, the reason the Leafs are so protective of their territory. The monopoly they enjoy comprises a huge chunk of their franchise value. Obviously they’ll want to be compensated if another team moves in.

10. The Detroit Red Wings are worth $336 million. Mike Ilitch bought them in 1982 for $8 million. Nice little investment.

The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return

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After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

Todd McLellan

Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

Some of the more choice quotes:

“I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

“When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

“We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”

Roy: Avs ‘need, expect more’ from Varlamov


The tough times continue for Semyon Varlamov.

After another unsuccessful outing on Monday — allowing four goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Islanders — Varlamov was subjected to a familiar refrain: Patrick Roy saying the Avs need more from their No. 1 netminder.


You can hear all of the head coach’s comments in the video above but, for brevity’s sake, here’s the Varlamov stuff:

“It’s not easy for him. Obviously we need that extra save and we didn’t get it on the road. It’s hard to win if you’re giving four goals on the road.

“We just need more from him. He’s our No. 1 guy and we’re behind him, but we need, we expect more from him.”

There has to be serious concern about Varlamov right now, if there wasn’t already.

His save percentage through seven games in November (.891) is marginally better than it was through seven games in October (.889), and that’s not the only alarming stat. Varlamov’s yet to record a shutout this year, yet to record back-to-back victories and has given up at least three goals in six of his last seven starts.

Not good.

Compounding things for Colorado are the standings. The Avs are now 9-14-1 and mired in the Central Division basement, meaning that — if they have any hope of going on a tear and getting back into playoff content — they’ll need to do it soon.

Which means they might not have the time, or the patience, for Varlamov to find his game.