The Rangers pass the Leafs, become the NHL’s most valuable franchise: Forbes

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The New York Rangers have passed the Toronto Maple Leafs to become the most valuable franchise in the NHL, according to the most recent Forbes valuations.

The Rangers’ value climbed nine percent in the last year, all the way to $1.2 billion.

The Leafs, meanwhile, saw their value fall 12 percent, down to $1.15 billion.

The Montreal Canadiens climbed to second at $1.18 billion, thanks to a lucrative new local TV deal. The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins rounded out the top five, at $930 million and $750 million, respectively.

Click here for the full list.

So, why the change at the top?

Forbes explains:

The Rangers generated the most revenue ($229 million) in the league during the 2014-15 season, cashing in on the $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden and drives to the Stanley Cup finals in 2014 and Eastern Conference Finals in 2015. The Rangers took in more than $95 million from premium seating and advertising at MSG last season, tops in the NHL.

The Leafs had held the top spot since 2006 (Forbes did not compile valuations in 2005 due to the 2004-05 lockout) but have been undone by bad hockey and a weaker Canadian currency relative to the Greenback. Toronto has only been in the playoffs once since 2006 and the team’s 13-year sellout streak at the Air Canada Centre was broken last March.

As for the bottom of the table, well, it’s the usual suspects:

30th: Florida Panthers ($190 million)
29th: Arizona Coyotes ($220 million)
28th: Carolina Hurricanes ($230 million)

Also of note? The seven teams that saw their values decline the most were all in Canada, the common factor there being a significant drop in the value of the country’s currency.

Think that bodes well for Quebec City’s expansion bid?