Maple Leafs no longer NHL’s most valuable franchise. Who’s new No. 1?

Jared Clinton
The Rangers celebrate (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

After making the post-season only once in the past decade, the Toronto Maple Leafs have officially fallen out of the top spot on Forbes NHL team valuations.

The Maple Leafs, who have sat atop the list since 2006, didn’t just drop one spot, though. According to Forbes, Toronto has slipped to third when it comes to franchise valuation and have seen their worth slip 12 percent since last season. On this year’s list, the New York Rangers have taken over the top spot thanks to a nine percent increase in value change and the second-highest earnings in the league this past season.

Forbes stated the value of the Rangers is $1.2 billion, which makes them the highest standing of the league’s three billion-dollar franchises, with Montreal sitting in second place at a valuation of $1.18 billion. The Canadiens, Forbes wrote, out earned all clubs with $91.3 million coming in this past season. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Cam Ward and Eric Staal could move on from Hurricanes

Cam Ward and Eric Staal. (Getty Images)

The future of forward Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward with the Carolina Hurricanes could be determined soon. Both are eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency, and their status remains fodder for the rumor mill.

During Saturday’s ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ telecast, Damien Cox reported Staal and Ward expect to hear from GM Ron Francis at the end of this month if they’ll try to negotiate new contracts. If the ownership situation proves so difficult that they cannot, Cox believes the duo will depart via trade or free agency next summer.

Read more

Faster and more prolific Bruins a threat at both ends of the ice

Ken Campbell
Boston Bruins celebration  (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

You could make the argument that there has been no team in the NHL – with the exception of the Chicago Blackhawks – that has lost more young talent over the years than the Boston Bruins. Since they won the Cup in 2011, the Bruins have parted ways with Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Johnny Boychuk. All but Boychuk were under 30 when they left and the average age of the players leaving was under 26.

Even losing a 36-year-old Jarome Iginla was a kick in the slats, considering he scored 30 goals in his only season with the Bruins, then scored 29 in his first season with the Colorado Avalanche.

Read more

Five slumping stars who are set to break out

Jakub Voracek. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sometimes, no matter what a star does, the pucks just don’t go in and the assists aren’t piling up. It could be the fault of pucks off of posts, a few bad bounces or simply a string of bad luck.

For five star players, the 2015-16 campaign has been especially unkind. And while players such as Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin can seem to do no wrong, there are those who can’t seem to catch a break. Here are five star players stuck in a slump who look ready to break out: Read more

Bernier a star? Lindros in HHOF? Norris for Phaneuf? Counting down my biggest blunders

Toronto Maple Leafs Jonathan Bernier

I had an uncle who claimed he had never been wrong. Used to insist he didn’t know how it feels to be wrong.

“Is it like an itch?” he’d joke.

Me, well I sure know how it feels to be wrong. When you are as opinionated as I am, being wrong comes with the territory.

I’ll give you a few examples:

Read more

Go west young man: Handicapping Travis Hamonic’s preferred trade destinations

John Tavares (left) and Travis Hamonic  (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Travis Hamonic is 25 years old. He’s a mobile, physical defensemen who can munch minutes and has a reasonable amount of offensive potential. He’s a steal against the salary cap, currently leads all defensemen in hits, is a right-shot defenseman and has favorable numbers when it comes to analytics. And his best years as an NHL player could very well be in front of him.

So from the standpoint of New York Islanders GM Garth Snow, there could never be a better time to trade him. But when the player not only asks for a trade, but limits his destination to one of four teams, any leverage Snow had over his possible trade partners is wiped out. There’s nothing the drops a player’s trade market value more dramatically than a desperate need to move him and a limited number of destinations.

Read more

Five-time Stanley Cup champion, Hall of Famer Bert Olmstead passes away at 89

Bert Olmstead (Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Hall of Fame left winger Bert Olmstead, a native of Sceptre, Sask., passed away Monday at 89 due to complications from a stroke, according to the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis.

Over his 14 seasons in the NHL, Olmstead played for the Chicago Black Hawks, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs and was also briefly a member of the Red Wings but never suited up for Detroit. Olmstead broke into the league with the Black Hawks in 1949-50 with a 20-goal, 49-point rookie campaign and finished second in Calder Trophy voting to Bruins goaltender Jack Gelineau.

Olmstead’s greatest successes came while a member of the Habs in the 1950s, though. Olmstead was a gifted playmaker, but wasn’t necessarily known for his own scoring ability, instead using his talents to set up linemates such as Elmer Lach, Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard and Jean Beliveau. Read more

Toronto’s James Reimer is incredibly hot right now

Ryan Kennedy
James Reimer (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

This was not the script.

James Reimer was not expected to carry the load in Toronto this season – that was assumed to be Jonathan Bernier’s turf. But nearly a quarter into the campaign, we find Reimer on a four-game win streak, undefeated in regulation through six starts, and inspiring the troops in front of him.

In fact, amongst goalies with at least 10 appearances this season, Reimer now ranks fourth overall with a .930 save percentage – better than Pekka Rinne, Marc-Andre Fleury or Braden Holtby.

Read more