Original Six Dominate List of Most Valuable NHL Teams

The National Hockey League (NHL) is home to some of the most storied franchises in the world of sports, each with its unique history, fan base, and legacy. The financial success of these teams often mirrors their on-ice performance and the strength of their brand. In this article, we’ll delve into the list of the most valuable NHL teams, with a special focus on the iconic Original Six franchises, and a surprising leader at the top.

The NHL’s Financial Landscape

As the NHL continues to grow in popularity globally, the financial aspects of the league have become increasingly significant. From lucrative broadcasting deals to merchandise sales and ticket revenues, the league’s financial health is a reflection of its widespread appeal. Forbes annually compiles a list of the most valuable NHL teams, considering factors such as revenue, operating income, and overall franchise value.

The Original Six: A Hockey Heritage

The term “Original Six” refers to the six teams that comprised the NHL from its inception until the league’s expansion in 1967. These teams – the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and New York Rangers – hold a special place in the hearts of hockey enthusiasts and have played a pivotal role in shaping the league’s identity.

Unveiling the Most Valuable NHL Teams

1. Montreal Canadiens – A Surprise Leader

In a surprising turn of events, the Montreal Canadiens have claimed the top spot as the most valuable NHL team. With a rich history dating back to 1909, the Canadiens have amassed a massive global fan base. Their success on the ice, coupled with a passionate following, has catapulted them to the pinnacle of the league’s financial hierarchy. The Canadiens’ value is not only driven by their on-ice performance but also by their iconic brand and cultural significance.

2. Toronto Maple Leafs – A Close Second

The Toronto Maple Leafs, perennial contenders for the top spot, find themselves in the second position. With a fanatical fan base and a storied history, the Maple Leafs consistently rank among the league’s elite in terms of financial value. The team’s recent on-ice success has further boosted its marketability and financial standing.

3. New York Rangers – The Big Apple’s Hockey Giants

The New York Rangers, representing the hockey-crazed city of New York, secure the third spot on the list. The Rangers boast a massive market and a global fan base, contributing significantly to their overall value. Success on Broadway translates to financial success, and the Rangers continue to be a financial powerhouse in the NHL.

4. Chicago Blackhawks – A Windy City Economic Force

The Chicago Blackhawks, with their distinctive logo and a recent history of on-ice triumphs, claim the fourth spot. The team’s success in the 2010s, including multiple Stanley Cup victories, has elevated its brand and financial standing. The Blackhawks’ ability to maintain their relevance in a competitive sports market has solidified their status as one of the league’s most valuable franchises.

5. Boston Bruins – A Legacy of Success

The Boston Bruins, with a legacy dating back to 1924, secure the fifth position on the list. The team’s success, both in terms of championships and financial metrics, has been a testament to their enduring appeal. The Bruins’ strong regional support and dedicated fan base contribute significantly to their overall value.

6. Detroit Red Wings – Motor City Resilience

The Detroit Red Wings, hailing from the Motor City, round out the Original Six teams on the list. Despite facing on-ice challenges in recent years, the Red Wings’ historical success and loyal fan base maintain their status as one of the league’s most valuable franchises. The team’s resilience in the face of adversity is reflected in its financial standing.

The Impact of Globalization on NHL Team Values

In an era of globalization, the NHL’s reach extends far beyond North America. The league’s efforts to promote the sport on a global scale have contributed to the increased value of its franchises. International fans, merchandise sales, and broadcasting rights in various markets play a pivotal role in the financial success of NHL teams.


The financial landscape of the NHL is dynamic, with the Original Six franchises continuing to play a central role in shaping the league’s economic narrative. While established powerhouses like the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs maintain their dominance, the financial success of NHL teams is not solely determined by on-ice performance. Global fan engagement, branding, and market presence are crucial factors that contribute to a team’s overall value. As the league evolves, so too will the list of its most valuable teams, but the legacy of the Original Six will undoubtedly endure as a cornerstone of the NHL’s financial success.

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