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The 5 Most Valuable NHL Franchises (& The 5 Least Valuable)

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No matter how you feel about NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, it's impossible to deny that his tenure has netted far more positives than negatives.

The NHL is about to welcome its 32nd franchise, with Seattle set to join the league in 2021-22. This will only add more to league revenue, which has skyrocketed under Bettman's guidance.

RELATED: 10 Highest Paid NHL Players For 2019

Thanks to expansion, mega television contracts worth billions plus a major increase in following -- especially in the United States -- the value of NHL franchises continue to move upwards. And players are making more money than ever before.

Here is a look at the 5 most valuable NHL franchises, as well as the five least valuable.

Note: All financial stats and team value numbers are courtesy of Forbes.

10 Most Valuable: Boston Bruins ($1 Billion)

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The Original Six franchise plays in one of the biggest media markets in the United States. That, coupled with their history, makes the Bruins one of the five most valuable NHL clubs.

The Bruins were owned by Jeremy Jacobs from 1975 up until Sept. 2019, when he decided to pass the ownership on to his six children. In 2019, the Bruins crossed the $1 billion value threshold. The year before, they were valued at $925 million.

Having a winning product on the ice has also helped immensely. The Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Final three times this decade, winning it all in 2011 to end a 39-year championship drought.

9 Least Valuable: Winnipeg Jets ($420 Million)

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It's hard to believe that it's already been nearly nine full years since the Winnipeg Jets relocated from Atlanta. But next year, the Jets will celebrate their 10th season in the Great White North.

Playing in an extremely small market (Winnipeg is home to less than 800,000 people), the Jets are figuratively one of the least valuable NHL franchises -- even though they're among the NHL's best teams.

The Jets were valued at $425 million in 2019, receiving a $10 million increase in total value from 2018. It's still a major jump compared to 2012, when the franchise was only worth $200 million.

8 Most Valuable: Chicago Blackhawks ($1.085 Billion)

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The Chicago Blackhawks really turned a corner in the 2010s.

They were among North America's worst professional sports teams throughout the late '90s, and through the majority of the 2000s decade. Attendance was awful, local games weren't televised and superstar players were traded away left, right and center.

But once future superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane arrived in 2007-08, the Blackhawks began turning a corner. Here are are 12 years later, and Chicago has three Stanley Cup championship banners (2010, 2013 and 2015) hanging in the United Center rafters.

And oh, the Blackhawks are now the NHL's forth-most valuable franchise at $1.085 billion.

7 Least Valuable: Buffalo Sabres ($400 Million)

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Like the Jets, the Sabres play in one of the smallest NHL markets, and their frustrating on-ice play over the past 20 years -- especially in the 2010s -- has seriously impacted the value of the franchise.

RELATED:The 10 Richest NHL Players Of 2019

Buffalo owns the longest playoff drought in the NHL, having last qualified in 2011. They've been among the NHL's absolute worst teams since 2013, unable to do much despite racking up so many top five draft selections.

Owned by Terry and Kim Pegula (they also own the NFL's Buffalo Bills), the Sabres have a valuable of $400 million. That's still pretty good when you consider that the Pegulas only spent $165 million to buy the club in 2011.

6 Most Valuable: Montreal Canadiens ($1.34 Billion)

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They play in arguably the biggest hockey market in the world. And they're the most historic and successful NHL franchise of all-time. As such, it's no wonder that the Canadiens are even more valuable than 28 other franchises.

The Geoff Molson-led ownership group bought the Canadiens for a hefty price tag of $575 million in 2009. Over a decade later, and the Habs are valued at a beautiful and shiny $1.3 billion. Not a bad investment at all.

The Canadiens first crossed the $1 billion value mark in 2014; they were previously worth $775 million in 2013. And at the start of the 2010s decade, the team had a value of $408 million.

5 Least Valuable: Columbus Blue Jackets ($325 Million)

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The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the youngest NHL franchises, and they play in a small and nontraditional hockey market. Given their historic struggles (only one playoff series victory, which occurred last year), it's no surprise that the Jackets are near the bottom in terms of value.

It's just not easy for a city like this to compete with the other big market NHL franchises. Unless they become a consistent winner (unlikely to happen in the near future), the Blue Jackets will continue rank among the league's least valuable franchise -- even if they have an extremely passionate and loyal fanbase.

The Blue Jackets were valued at $325 million in 2019, which is actually impressive when you consider that they were only worth $245 million in 2016.

4 Most Valuable: Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.5 Billion)

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If it's not Montreal, than the city of Toronto is truly the world capital of hockey. It's not just a game in Canada's largest city and market. It's a lifestyle.

The Maple Leafs are part of the Original Six. Only the Canadiens have won more Stanley Cups than Toronto, and only the Habs faithful can make a case of having a stronger and more passionate fanbase than the Leafs.

RELATED: Top 10 Richest Owners in the NHL

With wealthy owners, lucrative ticket and merchandise sales plus a tremendous nationwide following, it's no surprise that Toronto is home to the NHL's second most valuable franchise at $1.5 billion.

3 Least Valuable: Florida Panthers ($310 Million)

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The Panthers are among the NHL's youngest franchises, having entered the league in 1993-94. But for obvious reasons, Florida is home to one of the NHL's least valuable franchises.

The nontraditional hockey market, the on-ice struggles and the inability to command a strong fanbase haven't helped matters. Panthers home games are often taken over by fans of the visiting team, and it's thanks in large part to ridiculously cheap ticket prices.

Florida's hockey team is worth $310 million, which places them 30th in the NHL. Having just two postseason appearances since 2001 obviously do no favors in helping enhance the team value.

2 Most Valuable: New York Rangers ($1.7 Billion)

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An original six franchise, a special history and oh, they play in the the media capital of the world. Is anybody else really surprised that the Rangers are the NHL's most valuable franchise?

New York is also home to the Yankees and Knicks, who are the most valuable MLB and NBA franchises according to Forbes, respectively.

By a slim margin, the Rangers edge out the Maple Leafs as the NHL's most valuable franchise. The organization surpassed the $1 billion value mark for the first time in 2014; they had a value of $850 million in 2013.

At the start of the decade, the Rangers were worth $461 million. The value of the franchise has skyrocketed ever since, and it won't be long until the Rangers are worth $2 billion-plus.

1 Least Valuable: Arizona Coyotes ($300 Million)

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This isn't a surprise.

The Coyotes have faced ownership uncertainty for the better part of the decade, and there are ongoing rumors about possible relocation. They consistently rank near the bottom in league attendance, and the poor on-ice product (they last made the postseason in 2012) haven't helped.

This franchise is worth only $300 million, with an operating income of $-15 million. The Coyotes are also working towards getting a new arena, but what good will that do? Arizona simply isn't a big hockey market, and with so many financial issues racking up, it's no wonder that they're the least valuable NHL franchise.

NEXT:10 Richest Sports Stars Of 2019

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