As the NHL season rapidly approaches the halfway point, teams are starting to take stock of where they are in relation to the competition and what needs to be done in order to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. While it is still early, some teams have clearly established themselves as contenders, while others are already looking ahead to next year. In this blog post, we will take a look at which teams are currently playing the best hockey and rank them according to their value in the NHL. Spoiler alert: The Pittsburgh Penguins come out on top!
NHL – History, Overview, & Popularity
The National Hockey League, or NHL, is a professional ice hockey league that was founded in 1917. It is composed of 30 teams from the United States and Canada and is the oldest and most prestigious hockey league in the world. The Stanley Cup, the most coveted trophy in all professional sports, is awarded to the NHL champion yearly.
The NHL is one of North America’s four major professional sports leagues, along with the NBA, MLB, and NFL. Although it is not as popular as those other leagues, it still has a large following among hockey fans across the globe. In recent years, its popularity has been increasing due to the exposure it has been getting on television and social media.
The league is currently divided into two conferences, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, each of which has three divisions. The conference and divisional alignments are shown below.
Conference and Divisional Alignments
Atlantic Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs
Metropolitan Division: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals
Central Division: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets
Pacific Division: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights
As of the 2019-2020 season, each team plays 82 games, 41 of which are at home and 41 of which are on the road. Each team is allowed to have a maximum of 23 players on its roster, including two goaltenders.
The regular season runs from October through early April, after which the top 16 teams in the league advance to the playoffs. The playoffs are a single-elimination tournament that culminates in the Stanley Cup Finals, a best-of-seven series between the champions of the Eastern and Western Conferences.
The Growth of Online Sports Betting for NHL
The NHL has seen a lot of growth in recent years in terms of popularity and revenue. One of the main reasons for this is the rise of online sports betting. According to a report by the American Gaming Association, the NHL is one of the most bet-on leagues in the United States, with $447 million being wagered on its games in 2018.
This is a significant increase from previous years and is only expected to grow in the future. With more people betting on NHL games, there is more interest in the league as a whole, which leads to more revenue for the NHL.
With so many incentives such as ease of access, promotional codes like the BetMGM bonus code, and the ability to bet on games from anywhere in the world, it is no surprise that online sports betting is on the rise. And as more people get into it, the NHL will only continue to benefit.
Most Valuable NHL Teams
Now that we have briefly reviewed the NHL and its format, let’s take a look at which teams are currently the most valuable in the league. We will rank them according to their average player salary, point differential, and recent playoff success.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently the most valuable team in the NHL, with a current worth of $650 million. The Penguins have been one of the most successful teams in recent years, winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. They are currently first in the Metropolitan Division and look like they could be headed for another deep playoff run.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning is second on our list, with a current value of $600 million. The Lightning is currently leading the Atlantic Division and has established itself as one of the best teams in the league. They have missed the playoffs just once in the last six years and appear to be on track for another successful season.
The Chicago Blackhawks are third on our list, with a current value of $575 million. The Blackhawks are one of the most popular teams in the NHL and have a loyal fan base. They have won three Stanley Cups in the last six years and are currently third in the Central Division.
The Anaheim Ducks round out our top four, with a current value of $500 million. The Ducks are currently second in the Pacific Division and one of the league’s most consistent teams. They have made the playoffs in each of the last five years and appear to be on track for another successful season.
The NHL is a growing league with a lot of potentials. Online sports betting is one of the main reasons for the NHL’s recent growth in popularity and revenue. And as more people get into it, the NHL will only continue to benefit.