Toronto is the NHL’s most valuable team, again

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Forbes has released its annual Business of Hockey/NHL valuations report and for the second consecutive year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the league’s most valuable team.

From Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com:

The league’s most valuable team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, is now worth $521 million and generated $81.8 million in operating income last season. The New York Rangers, who are enjoying the benefits of playing in a refurbished Madison Square Garden, earned $41.4 million last year and are the NHL’s second-most valuable team, worth $507 million. And the Montreal Canadiens, placing third with a $445 million valuation, earned $47.7 million.

Another success story is that of the Winnipeg Jets (valued at $164 million):

The value of the Winnipeg Jets increased 21%, the most among the 30 teams. After buying the Atlanta Thrashers in May for $110 million, plus a $60 million relocation fee, True North Sports and Entertainment moved the team to Manitoba where the previous incarnation of the Jets played as part of the NHL from 1979 to 1995 before moving to Phoenix. In Atlanta the team sold only 73% of their tickets last season but have sold out all of their games for the 2011-12 campaign in less than 30 minutes.

You can read more about the Jets here. It’s an interesting bit, featuring the first and likely last time Forbes will ever run a picture of Dustin Byfuglien.

Moving along…here’s Forbes 2011 Top-10 (with each team’s 2010 ranking in parentheses.)

No. 1: Toronto (1)

No. 2: New York Rangers (2)

No. 3: Montreal Canadiens (3)

No. 4: Detroit Red Wings (4)

No. 5: Boston Bruins (5)

No. 6: Chicago Blackhawks (7)

No. 7: Vancouver Canucks (8)

No. 8: Philadelphia Flyers (6)

No. 9: Pittsburgh Penguins (9)

No. 10: LA Kings (12)

Here are some of the more notable risers/fallers:

— Winnipeg is up from No. 29 (as Atlanta) to No. 24

— Edmonton is up from No. 20 to No. 15

— Washington is up from No. 16 to No. 12

— Colorado is down from No. 15 to No. 18

— Florida is down from No. 22 to No. 26

— St. Louis is down from No. 23 to No. 27

And for the second consecutive year, Phoenix (valued at $134 million) comes in at No. 30.