Leafs most valuable

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

NEW YORK -- For the third straight year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the NHL's most valuable team, worth $448 million US.

The Leafs increased in value by 9% and easily were valued ahead of the New York Rangers in Forbes' annual rankings. The Rangers are worth $411 million.

Third on the list were the Montreal Canadiens at $334 million, followed by the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings ($303 million) and the Philadelphia Flyers ($275 million).

The biggest increase in value was made by the Pittsburgh Penguins who are now worth $195 million, up a whopping 26%.

The next biggest gainers were the Calgary Flames, up 24% to $203 million) and the Minnesota Wild, who improved 21% and are worth $217 million.

The average team value was $220 million; by comparison, the average for NFL teams this season was $1 billion.

At the bottom of the list were Columbus ($157 million), the New York Islanders ($154 million), and Phoenix ($142 million). The Coyotes were the only team to go down in worth, by 3%.

Toronto also led the list with $160 million in revenues, followed by Montreal ($139) and the Rangers ($137).

Ominously, 12 teams showed a negative operating income, including the Flyers (minus $1.8 million), and Boston Bruins (minus $3 million) -- both top 10 franchises in total value.

ALFIE A SENATOR FOR LIFE?

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Daniel Alfredsson is on the verge of becoming a Senator for life.

Two league sources told Sun Media last night that Alfredsson was "close" to signing a four-year contract extension with the club that could be worth in excess of $20 million and would allow him to finish his career in a Senators uniform.

While initial talks to get a deal done took place last month in Sweden, they heated up last week between Senators GM Bryan Murray and Alfredsson's agent, J.P. Barry, and continued into last night. A new contract could be announced as early as today.

TRADE DEADLINE MOVED

NHL general managers will have one extra day to make trades this season.

The league officially announced yesterday that it had pushed the trade deadline back to March 4.

It had originally been scheduled for March 3, but a high volume of games forced the switch.


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