The Toronto Maple Leafs' poor performance on the ice doesn't appear to be hurting the team's bottom line.
The Leafs, who have the second-worst record in the NHL through Wednesday, topped Forbes magazine's list of the league's most valuable franchise for the fourth straight year.
According to Forbes, the Leafs' value increased by five per cent to $470 million US last season, when they missed the playoffs for the fourth straight time. The team brought in $168 million in revenue for owner Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment.
The New York Rangers ranked second with a value of $416 million, up one per cent from the year before, with the Montreal Canadiens third at $339 million, up two per cent. The Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers rounded out the top five.
The Vancouver Canucks finished ninth at $239 million, up one per cent, followed by the Calgary Flames (down two per cent to 16th at $200 million), the Ottawa Senators (down five per cent to 17th at $197 million) and the Edmonton Oilers (down five per cent to 24th at $166 million).
The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who will move into a new arena next season, ranked 11th at $222 million.
Record profit for league
Despite the economic recession, the NHL posted its most profitable season in the 12 years Forbes has tracked its finances. The league's 30 franchises had an average operating profit of $6.1 million, owing mostly to increases in ticket and sponsorship revenues.
Not every club turned a profit.
Forbes said the Phoenix Coyotes posted an operational loss of $18.5 million. The team, which is being bought out of bankruptcy by the NHL, was the least valuable of the league's 30 teams at $138 million. The NHL has agreed to pay former owner Jerry Moyes $140 million for the franchise.
The biggest gain in value was made by the Chicago Blackhawks, who went up 26 per cent to No. 7 at $258 million as the club made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
The Colorado Avalanche suffered the largest drop, falling 11 per cent to No. 15 at $205 million as the franchise had its worst showing on the ice since moving from Quebec City in 1995.