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Detroit Red Wings: Analyzing 2011 for Detroit and the Most Valuable NHL Teams

Jordan MatthewsAnalyst IIIDecember 2, 2011

Detroit Red Wings: Analyzing 2011 for Detroit and the Most Valuable NHL Teams

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    Every year, Forbes.com releases a list of the most valuable teams in the NHL. This list goes by the teams overall value, but also provides valuable numbers such as the team's revenue and their operating income.


    Operating income is probably the most important number, as it determines how much money a team made or lost.

    Nevertheless, here's a report of how each NHL team has performed financially in 2011 and a brief analysis to go along with it.

30. Phoenix Coyotes

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    Team Value: $134 million

    Change since 2010: 0 percent change

    Revenue: $70 million

    Operating Income: $ -24.4 million

    Analysis: Another sad year for the Phoenix Coyotes. With no serious buyers interested and the NHL growing impatient, Phoenix is in trouble.

    Even if the NHL did petition for another season, there's not a chance the Glendale City Council will allow another $25 million grant to the Coyotes.

    2012 may not be the end of the world, but unless a buyer literally comes out of nowhere, it's likely to be the end of the Coyotes.

29. New York Islanders

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    Team Value: $149 million

    Change since 2010: -1 percent change

    Revenue: $63 million

    Operating Income: $ -8.1 million

    Analysis: The Islanders are another team in trouble, but lucky for them, their lease gives them at least another four years to get things figured out.

    They've got some good up-and-coming talent, so it's not unreasonable to suggest that if a good product is presented on the ice, the Isles could turn things around.

28. Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Team Value: $152 million

    Change since 2010: -1 percent change

    Revenue: $80 million

    Operating Income: $ -13.7 million

    Analysis: Columbus is the under the radar team to be relocated. That's rather sad to think about when you consider the fact that they're kind of like the Atlanta of the Western Conference.

    They've never had good team management, and thus, they've never really had a good team. Hopefully, they can turn things around soon before any sort of relocation is discussed, because Columbus could be a genuinely good hockey fan base if the fans had something to cheer for.

27. St. Louis Blues

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    Team Value: $157 million

    Change since 2010: -5 percent change

    Revenue: $78 million

    Operating Income: $ -2.7 million

    Analysis: These are rather sad numbers to see for St. Louis. Their fans have been filling the arena consistently and these aren't the kind of numbers that they should be treated with.


    Getting a new owner for the Blues will certainly help them down the road, and with the product they're beginning to put on the ice, they should be able to easily turn these numbers around.

26. Florida Panthers

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    Team Value: $162 million

    Change since 2010: -4 percent change

    Revenue: $81 million

    Operating Income: $ -7.0 million

    Analysis: The Florida Panthers are a team on the rise in the NHL, and hopefully their attendance numbers will rise as their performance does.


    This is a team that desperately needs a crowd to turn out if they expect to stay around in the league, and with the product they're currently putting on the ice, there should be no excuses.

25. Nashville Predators

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    Team Value: $163 million

    Change since 2010: +10 percent change

    Revenue: $82 million

    Operating Income: $ -7.5 million

    Analysis: The Nashville Predators continued to improve last year by advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in team history.

    While the team value went up significantly, their operating income is still looking down. Shea Weber's contract this year wont help that number at all.

    Nashville needs to keep putting a good product on the ice, but with the price that Weber and Suter will cost in the offseason, that may not be possible.

24. Winnipeg Jets

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    Team Value: $164 million

    Change since 2010: +21 percent change

    Revenue: $71 million

    Operating Income: $ -5.2 million

    Analysis: Don't let those numbers fool you. The operating income is back from the Atlanta Thrashers days. The worth of the team went up by over 20 percent since then, which is the greatest increase in the NHL this year.


    With season tickets already sold out for the next few years, Winnipeg should be in good shape financially. Look for them to gradually ascend this list as time goes by.


23. Carolina Hurricanes

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    Team Value: $169 million

    Change since 2010: +4 percent change

    Revenue: $81 million

    Operating Income: $ -4.4 million

    Analysis: Those numbers aren't too bad for Carolina until the part where it matters most. Hopefully, they can turn it around in the next few years.

    Just as a suggestion though, they wont make up that $4.4 million by selling any of those awful third jerseys they're wearing.

22. Buffalo Sabres

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    Team Value: $173 million

    Change since 2010: +2 percent change

    Revenue: $87 million

    Operating Income: $ -5.6 million

    Analysis: The operating income is a burden, but not really an issue for deep-pocketed owner Terry Pegula.

    This team has the talent to be a playoff team, and with their fan base, they should be back in the black in no time.

21. Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Team Value: $173 million

    Change since 2010: +20 percent change

    Revenue: $87 million

    Operating Income: $ -8.5 million

    Analysis: Tampa Bay did have a great increase in value, which likely came from their appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, their operating income was still down quite a bit.

    The Bolts are selling out a decent amount of games, so they could look to improve that number this year.

20. New Jersey Devils

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    Team Value: $181 million

    Change since 2010: -17 percent change

    Revenue: $100 million

    Operating Income: $ -6.1 million

    Analysis: New Jersey logged the worst decrease in value of any NHL team, descending nearly $40 million in their team value.

    Not looking good in the Garden State.

19. Anaheim Ducks

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    Team Value: $184 million

    Change since 2010: -2 percent change

    Revenue: $84 million

    Operating Income: $ -8.4 million

    Analysis: Not great numbers for the Ducks, and if the team doesn't start improving things could get worse, especially with the Kings and Sharks both being competitive.

18. Colorado Avalanche

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    Value: $198 million

    Change Since 2010: 0 percent change

    Revenue: $83 million

    Operating Income: $6.1 million.

    Analysis: Finally! A team on the list that made money in 2011. The Avs have steadily declined since the start of the season so it should be interesting to see where their numbers go.

    A good deal of their success may have to do with the fact that they had a very low payroll.


17. Ottawa Senators

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    Value: $201 million

    Change Since 2010: +3 percent change

    Revenue: $100 million

    Operating Income: $2.8 million

    Analysis: Another team who didn't perform well last season but managed to make money. Somewhat surprising too considering the fact that they have insane contracts like the one they pay to Jason Spezza.

    That said, Ottawa should be in good shape after this year, considering they are playing pretty well.

16. San Jose Sharks

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    Value: $211 million

    Change Since 2010: +9 percent change

    Revenue: $96 million

    Operating Income: $ -7.8 million

    Analysis: Rather surprising that a team who hasn't missed the playoffs since the lockout is losing nearly $8 million.


    Needless to say, the Sharks need to do something. With a core over the age of 30 and a prospect pool considered by many to be the NHL's worst, they could be in trouble if they start to sink.

15. Edmonton Oilers

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    Value: $212 million

    Change Since 2010: +16 percent change

    Revenue: $96 million

    Operating Income: $17.3 million

    Analysis: Great year for the Oilers even if they were at the bottom of the league. Much of their income probably came from their low payroll due to the number of prospects they had playing.


    Nonetheless, the Oilers are a team on the rise and they should be making money for quite some time.

14. Minnesota Wild

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    Value: $213 million

    Change Since 2010: +5 percent change

    Revenue: $97 million

    Operating Income: $ -5.9 million

    Analysis: Decent enough for a non-playoff team. We'll see how the Wild can do now that they have a team who is currently on top of the division.

    They've got a loyal enough fan base that if they can pick up some casual fans they could really hit the ground running.

13. Calgary Flames

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    Value: $220 million

    Change Since 2010: +7 percent change

    Revenue: $105 million

    Operating Income: $1.1 million

    Analysis: Not bad for the Flames not being a playoff team.


    That said, GM Jay Feaster has a lot of work to do to get the Flames going.

12. Washington Capitals

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    Value: $225 million

    Change Since 2010: +14 percent change

    Revenue: $104 million

    Operating Income: $ -7.5 million

    Analysis: It's rather interesting that the two teams that the NHL arguably promotes the most both lost money in 2011.

    We'll see how things shake out for the Caps after firing Bruce Boudreau, but it currently looks like they're in the middle of a down year, and their finances may begin to reflect that.

11. Dallas Stars

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    Value: $230 million

    Change Since 2010: +1 percent change

    Revenue: $90 million

    Operating Income: $ -1.1 million

    Analysis: Not too bad of a year for the Stars, and after shedding Brad Richards' contract, it might get better if they can manage to start selling tickets in their arena.

10. Los Angeles Kings

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    Value: $232 million

    Change Since 2010: +8 percent change

    Revenue: $101 million

    Operating Income: $ -2.0 million

    Analysis: With a relatively low salary last year, the Kings could be setup to lose a lot more money this year considering they haven't been playing up to expectations.

9. Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Value: $264 million

    Change Since 2010: +12 percent change

    Revenue: $110 million

    Operating Income: $ -0.2 million

    Analysis: I referenced them in the Capital's slide about losing money. Not much of a loss but it's certainly nothing gained.

    Especially considering they were one of the teams to be in the Winter Classic.

8. Philadelphia Flyers

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    Value: $290 million

    Change Since 2010: -4 percent change

    Revenue: $111 million

    Operating Income: $3.2 million

    Analysis: Not good for one of the top teams in the league to lose value when almost all of the league goes up.


    The Flyers can at least be content with the fact that they made money and have made their core much younger.

7. Vancouver Canucks

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    Value: $300 million

    Change Since 2010: +15 percent change

    Revenue: $146 million

    Operating Income: $23.5 million

    Analysis: Not a surprise that the Stanley Cup runner-ups made money hand over fist. Good change for the Canucks as they move up a spot.


    Just think, they'd have made even more money if they weren't wasting so much on Roberto Luongo.

6. Chicago Blackhawks

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    Value: $306 million

    Change Since 2010: +2 percent change

    Revenue: $118 million

    Operating Income: $8.7 million

    Analysis: Not a good year change wise for the Blackhawks, as it doesn't show much growth, but they're still making money nonetheless.

5. Boston Bruins

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    Value: $325 million

    Change Since 2010: +8 percent change

    Revenue: $125 million

    Operating Income: $ -2.7 million

    Analysis: Anybody else as surprised as I am? How does the Stanley Cup Champion in a strong fan base make the least amount of money amongst all the Original Six Teams?


    Nonetheless, the Bruins are set for awhile, and should be in a good position financially for a very long time.

4. Detroit Red Wings

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    Value: $336 million

    Change Since 2010: +7 percent Change

    Revenue: $127 million

    Operating Income: $16.3 million

    Analysis: Somewhat surprising that a team in a state that is in terrible economical conditions continues to make so much money.

    Regardless, the Wings will take it, and with rumors of a Detroit Winter Classic coming to Detroit things could get even better.

3. Montreal Canadiens

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    Value: $445 million

    Change since 2010: +9 percent Change

    Revenue: $165 million

    Operating Income: $47.7 million

    Analysis: And now we move into the albatross paychecks. Nearly $50 million for the Habs. Still doesn't come near No. 1.

2. New York Rangers

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    Value: $507 million

    Change since 2010: +10 percent change

    Revenue: $169 million

    Operating Income: $41.4 million

    Analysis: Thank God there's a salary cap, because with the way the Rangers like to spend money, they could have managed to spend that $41 million.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Value: $521 million

    Change since 2010: +3 percent change

    Revenue: $193 million

    Operating Income: $81.8 million

    Analysis: No real surprise that the Maple Leafs are on top. What's disturbing is the fact that they've eclipsed $80 million in revenue with a team that hasn't made the playoffs in quite a long time.


    Just imagine what they'll do once they start playing in mid-April and beyond.

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    Jordan Matthews writes for the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. For more coverage, you can follow him on Twitter.


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