The Toronto Maple Leafs are the first NHL team worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
The Leafs, who have not won a Stanley Cup since 1967, are worth $250 million more than the next most valuable franchise, the New York Rangers. The Montreal Canadiens are worth $575 million.
Least valuable of the 30 teams are the St. Louis Blues at $130 million and the Phoenix Coyotes at $134 million.
The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings are worth $276 million, 10th overall.
Forbes says the NHL’s total revenues were $3.4 billion for the 2011-12 season. Fueled by that 9 percent increase, the average NHL team is worth $282 million, 18 percent more than a year ago.
With the players locked out by owners, the NHL already has canceled 422 regular-season games. Forbes reports that 13 teams lost money last season.
The Leafs, Rangers (last Stanley Cup in 1994) and Canadiens (last title in 1993) account for 83 percent of the league’s income, with Toronto the most profitable franchise at $81.9 million, followed by the Rangers at $74 million and Montreal at $51.6 million.
The Winnipeg Jets, in their first season after moving from Atlanta, increased in value by $30 million to $200 million.