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The New York Rangers are the NHL’s most valuable franchise for a fourth consecutive year, according to the latest estimate by Forbes.

The Rangers top the annual list of franchise valuations at US$1.55-billion, up 3 per cent over last year.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are second at US$1.35-billion and Montreal Canadiens third at US$1.3-billion, a 4-per-cent increase for both clubs.

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Original Six clubs make up the top five of the list, with the Chicago Blackhawks fourth at US$1.05-billion and the Boston Bruins fifth at US$925-million. The Detroit Red Wings are not far behind their Original Six cousins in eighth (US$775-million) and have seen an 11-per-cent increase in value thanks to a new downtown arena.

Los Angeles (sixth, US$810-million), Philadelphia (seventh, US$800-million), Vancouver (ninth, US$735-million) and Washington (10th, US$725-million) round out the top 10. The Capitals enjoyed a league-best 16-per-cent boost in valuation over last year thanks to a run to its first ever Stanley Cup title.

The Vegas Golden Knights had a 15-per-cent boost in value to US$575-million, good for 12th in the league, after becoming the first expansion team to advance to the Cup final.

At the other end of the list are the Florida Panthers (30th, US$295-million) and Arizona Coyotes (31st, US$290-million). The clubs were the only two to lose value according to Forbes, down 3 per cent each.

The Canadian teams are rounded out by Edmonton (13th, US$540-million), Calgary (20th, US$450-million), Ottawa (23rd, US$435-million) and Winnipeg (27th, US$415-million). The Jets’ value jumped 11 per cent thanks to the team’s run to the Western Conference final.

According to the list, the value of the average NHL team rose 6 per cent during the past year, to a record US$630-million.

The release of the list comes on the heels of the NHL approving a 32nd team in Seattle for a hefty expansion fee of US$650-million.

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