Falling Leafs: Toronto drops to third on Forbes list, Rangers and Habs are 1-2

NEW YORK, N.Y. – For the first time since 2005, the Toronto Maple Leafs are out of top spot in the annual Forbes valuation of the National Hockey League’s 30 teams.

The New York Rangers moved into top spot with a worth of US$1.2 billion, according to the magazine’s list. The franchise, which was No. 2 in 2014, last held the No. 1 position in 2004.

The Montreal Canadiens rose one spot to No. 2 with a value of $1.18 billion while the Maple Leafs fell to third at $1.15 billion.

The Rangers’ financial strength was helped by the $1-billion renovation of Madison Square Garden and the team’s run to the Stanley Cup final in 2014 and semifinals last spring, Forbes said in its report Tuesday.

The Maple Leafs’ drop was driven by several factors, including poor on-ice results in recent years and the team’s 13-year sellout streak at Air Canada Centre being broken.

The Chicago Blackhawks ($925 million) and Boston Bruins ($750 million) rounded out the top five.

Forbes also said the average NHL team is now worth $505 million, an increase of three per cent from last year.