It is interesting to note how the remaining 8 teams vying for the Stanley Cup rank in viability as a business.

The Most surprising member of the gang of eight is Columbus. The Blue Jackets were expected to be road kill on Tampa Bay's streak to the mug. Their playoff success hides their financial distress. They are the 3rd least valuable franchise with the cheapest tickets and they still can't fill the arena in a city that has no other major professional sport team.

 The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champions but are the 6th least valued franchise.

Colorado is taking on San Jose after knocking off division leader Calgary. They are the 8th least valuable franchise.

The New York Islanders are the weaklings of the crowded New York sports market with a lowly 10th lowest valuation in the NHL. I have them as one of the two current favorites to take Lord Stanley's Goblet.

The St Louis Blues are the 15th least valuable team, they are serious contenders in the Western Conference after knocking off Winnipeg.

Perennial also rans San Jose are in the middle of the pack valuation wise sitting at 15th highest

Dallas upset lower valued Nashville while sitting at 14th highest in value as an NHL franchise.

The Boston Bruins are the only "original six" team left in the playoffs. They rank 5th highest in value partly because of reliable sellouts of their own building.

Clearly franchise value is not correlated with wins on the ice. What other anomalies demonstrate this?

A real surprise is that the erstwhile favorites for this year, Tampa Bay is the 11th least valuable NHL team in spite of having the best regular season record by far over the last six years. What do we call people who live in Tampa Bay? I don't know but it certainly isn't "Hockey Fans" 

The Edmonton Oilers with one of the worst records over the last six years are ranked 13th in value. How do they do this? Regular sellouts at premium prices. Their only local competition is the Canadian Football League franchise Edmonton Eskimos.

The Montreal Canadiens, the team with a league leading 24 Stanley Cups have not won a championship since 1993, the last Canadian team to win it.  Despite a middle of the road record the last 6 years and missing the playoffs two consecutive years they are the 3rd highest valued team at $1.3 billion US.

Toronto, just knocked out by the Bruins in yet another Game 7 loss are second at $1.45 billion. Their last Stanley Cup win was in 1967. It was their 11th cup, making them the 2nd place franchise in terms of Championships.

The New York Rangers are number one in value at $1.55 billion. They are a middle of the pack team over the last 6 years and have not made the playoffs in the last two. Their last Stanley Cup was in 1994 and it was their first since 1940, their fourth ever.

Perhaps this year's crop of Cinderella teams will spark the US bloom that has been the dream of the NHL since Gary Bettman took over as commissioner. Probably not. Only one team will win the cup. Tampa won it in 2004, went through a brief slump but has charged back to become the top team over the last six years. Yet they and Florida are both in a division with Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston and Buffalo so they can draw winter sunseekers from those cities to Lightning home games. Visiting team fans occasionally outnumber the home team.