One could argue that all 30 teams would lose a lot from a lockout, but some will sweat it more than others.
Forbes’ Chris Smith named two teams that have the most to lose: the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.
Smith begins with the Panthers, emphasizing the fact that Florida could lose much of the momentum that came from breaking its lengthy playoff drought and averaging about 1,000 extra fans per game.
That’s why the Florida Panthers cannot afford to miss next season. The team must capitalize on its recent success, especially because it will now have to compete with LeBron James’ Miami Heat, which will play a full season this year. The Panthers are worth $162 million, ranking among the NHL’s least valuable franchises, and the team hasn’t generated a profit for more than a decade. A second successful season could begin turning the Panthers’ fortunes around, but losing the season entirely could threaten the team’s very survival.
Competing with glitzy NBA stars and maintaining unusual momentum carried over to Smith’s discussion of the Kings, too. (After all, they have to deal with the Lakers and Clippers.)
The defending Stanley Cup champions ought to be one of the NHL’s top stories heading into next year, but the team may be forgotten in its own hometown if next season is cancelled or even delayed. It’s doubtful that the Kings could afford the loss; while Los Angeles ranked tenth in our most recent NHL team valuations, the team was actually losing money and had a seventh-worst debt-to-value ratio of 66 percent.
Which team(s) do you believe have the most to lose if a lockout happens, though?