With the playoffs beginning this week, BEARD Hockey has released extensive financial data via Forbes on the 2020-21 season to date.
Stats below are sourced from each club’s finances, along with other factors such as Endorsement revenue, monies owed through salary retention and signing bonuses (with those bonuses due in the offseason), projected playoff revenue, overall league revenues (including fines), and projected end-of-season cash balances.
Projected Overall League Revenue: $3,047,227,471
Overall League Expenses: $2,506,635,207
Projected Overall League Profit: $540,592,264
With a salary cap of $75 million and salary floor of $50 million for the 2020-21 regular season, Commissioner Thomas Gidlow expects both the cap and floor to rise, though perhaps not as much as he may have thought originally when heading into the inaugural BEARD Hockey season.
“Ideally you’d like to see a nice jump after things get settled in year one,” said Gidlow. “But I think we will be patient. We still have a lot of work to smooth out some of our revenue streams. Overall though, we’re on very strong footing for us being through our first calendar year."
While not confirming exact numbers, early reports from league sources indicate a rise of somewhere between $2.5-$5 million on both ends of the spectrum. The official cap numbers for the 2021-22 season are due later in this year’s playoffs.
17 clubs are projected to have more money in their coffers than they started with operationally after the 2020 Dispersal Draft. Four clubs ended the regular season with a negative cash-on-hand balance, but three of them will earn at least some playoff revenue and the other earned Endorsement payouts.
Speaking of, $421 million was paid in Endorsement payouts at the end of the regular season. The Montreal Canadiens led the pack with $28 million received from Endorsements, while Philadelphia was the only club not receiving any Endorsement money (the Flyers opted not to select Endorsement options prior to the season).
Nearly $170 million is expected to be generated in ticket and arena revenues for the 16 clubs in the playoffs. For purposes of club valuations, all playoff clubs are given a $10.4 million ‘playoff revenue’ figure, though obviously some clubs will earn less and some will earn more depending how long they remain in the playoffs. Clubs do not incur usual expenses in the playoffs, such as payroll and other costs.
New club valuations are based on a structured formula accounting for all revenue factors, such as club revenue and expenses, salary retention paid/earned and signing bonuses due, Endorsement payouts, potential playoff revenue, end-of-season cash total, and projected offseason Day 1 cash balance.
We also add an even split of total league-wide profit, and projected ‘BEARD Stimulus’ payments to the club’s overall valuation (currently at $1.83 million per club). Finances overall improved from mid-season as the league instituted changes on ticket prices and additional game-related revenue, which has resulted in a lower-than-expected stimulus payment projection.
Some quick hits: Five of the top ten clubs in terms of valuations are playoff teams, while the bottom six clubs are not. Two top-ten clubs have projected offseason cash balances of less than $20 million. Only three clubs have less than $100 million valuations, though only one of those clubs is at risk of being unprofitable long-term based on last season’s cap ceiling and floor.
In total, BEARD Hockey clubs have nearly $4.3 billion in total valuations.
One additional note: This isn’t a ranking of the ‘best’ clubs – this is strictly about finances. While low spending teams have a slight advantage here with less expenses, they were also less likely to hit high Endorsement goals or receive playoff revenue.
#32: ANAHEIM DUCKS - Valuation: $79.1 million
Burning through cash, the Ducks need to make major moves – and soon – to remain above water. Losing $10 million on the season (in strict revenue, less endorsements, vs expenses) and spending another $7.5 million to buy out Valtteri Filppula did not help matters, either. With only $3.4 million in cash on hand, Anaheim needs money and it needs money now. Perhaps a call to JG Wentworth is in order?
#31: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING - Valuation: $96.6 million
While nowhere near the dire situation in Anaheim, the Lightning have righted the ship and at least have room to maneuver. Reducing or eliminating the loss of $16 million between revenues and expenses last season should be a priority in Tampa.
#30: PHILADELPHIA FLYERS - Valuation: $98.4 million
Safe to say this club learned their lesson on Endorsements. While having less than $10 million in cash on hand (projected) to start the offseason is not preferable, the Flyers have every opportunity to improve their financial outlook starting now.
#29: SAN JOSE SHARKS - Valuation: $100.7 million
For a club in the bottom-third of the league standings, the Sharks sure spent some money last season. Retaining less salary and not losing nearly $10 million between basic in-season revenue and expenses will help bring San Jose more financial stability.
The Carolina Hurricanes participate in a 'storm surge' celebration after a home-ice win (AP)
#28: CAROLINA HURRICANES - Valuation: $101.2 million
The Canes went for the playoffs and fell just short, missing an opportunity to reduce costs. Having less than $10 million in projected cash on hand may limit them some this offseason.
#27: TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS - Valuation: $103 million
The Leafs tied with Carolina (and Boston, but lost on a tiebreaker) but will have a little more money on hand (just over $11 million, projected). Can Toronto afford another playoff miss with a close-to-the-cap spending team?
#26: COLORADO AVALANCHE - Valuation: $116.7 million
The first playoff club on this list, the Avalanche can increase their outlook with a deep postseason run. Adjusted endorsement goals next season should also give Colorado more room.
#25: CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS - Valuation: $118.1 million
Not making the playoffs was costly to the Blackhawks in more ways than one. A nearly $14 million deficit on basic in-season revenue/expenses ate a chunk of the valuation here. But with an expected $25 million cash on hand to start the offseason, expect Chicago to vault up this list soon.
#23 (tie): NASHVILLE PREDATORS - Valuation: $121.7 million
The Predators benefitted nicely from improved financial conditions in the last half of the year, pushing their Endorsements over the line resulting in a nice expected $24 million war chest this offseason. Like Chicago, expect Nashville to make improvements to push them higher in short order.
#23 (tie): BUFFALO SABRES - Valuation: $121.7 million
The Sabres spent nearly to the cap over the last half of the season, resulting in a lower valuation. Firing their coach with a few games left was a pricey expense as well. Short of a deep postseason, Buffalo may not have a ton of throwing-around dough this offseason with an expected $16 million cash on hand total.
#22: LOS ANGELES KINGS - Valuation: $130.1 million
The Kings opted to spend some of their capital over the last half of the season on pushing toward the playoffs and re-signing some key players to long-term deals. Nearly $20 million will be paid in signing bonus money this offseason, leaving Los Angeles a bit strapped unless a deep postseason run is in the cards. This club is quite stable though, having hit $23 million in Endorsement payouts.
#21: ARIZONA COYOTES - Valuation: $130.3 million
The Coyotes also spent some dough on re-signings but could benefit greatly from a long playoff run. Not expecting a President’s Trophy-contending season, Arizona was reserved in their Endorsement goals. Perhaps a bit more aggression on that front in the offseason will result in a higher valuation next season.
#20: WINNIPEG JETS - Valuation: $133.8 million
Now one of the sounder franchises in the league, the Jets have been stabilized with GM Jesse Edwards at the helm. A solid playoff run should see the club start the offseason with over $30 million in cash on hand.
Dallas goalie Corey Crawford readies for a shot during a regular season game in Dallas (AP)
#19: DALLAS STARS - Valuation: $134.2 million
Despite spending over $80 million this season, finances are on firm ground in Dallas. Like Winnipeg, the Stars should be near the $30 million mark in available cash this offseason, buoyed by strong Endorsements and playoff revenue.
#18: NEW YORK RANGERS - Valuation: $135.7 million
Despite the ranking on this list, the Rangers are one of the most financially stable clubs in BEARD Hockey. Only New Jersey generated more basic revenue than New York at over $66 million last season, and if not for a $15 million hit in signing bonus money due soon, would be in contention for a top-ten spot on this list.
#17: OTTAWA SENATORS - Valuation: $140.7 million
Cracking the $140 million mark are the Senators, who’ve kept the books fairly clean this year and will see at least some playoff revenue. With a deep run, Ottawa could have close to $35 million or more in the coffers this offseason.
#16: FLORIDA PANTHERS - Valuation: $140.9 million
Keeping expenses low has been the motto in Florida this past year. Hitting a modest $11 million in Endorsement earnings while keeping other expenditures low gives the Panthers over $30 million in projected cash on hand to start the offseason.
#15: VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS - Valuation: $141.3 million
Despite some chaos in the front office, finishing last in the overall standings, and hitting just $7 million in Endorsement monies, the Golden Knights are on sound financial footing. Keeping expenses down will give Vegas around $28 million in cash on hand this offseason, leaving some funds available for improvements.
#14: WASHINGTON CAPITALS - Valuation: $142.2 million
Winning a President’s Trophy is not cheap. The Capitals spent money this year, but kept an eye on the bottom line while doing it. Despite the 14th spot on this list, Washington will have around $34 million in cash on hand with a moderate playoff run. That is real money that can help improve a club that is already seeking the Stanley Cup right now.
#13: NEW YORK ISLANDERS - Valuation: $142.8 million
Had the Islanders not invested $16 million in signing bonuses to retain key personnel this past season, the Islanders might be a top-five club on this list. Long Island spent where they needed to in order to remain competitive, and with a deep playoff run could be near $20 million in cash on hand this offseason. It’s all a recipe for long-term success for GM Jussi Kalmi.
#12: DETROIT RED WINGS - Valuation: $144.6 million
Despite spending almost as much as Vancouver did ($87 million) on basic in-season expenses this year (over $84 million), the Brinks truck still came to Detroit in the form of $23.5 million in Endorsement payouts. North of $30 million will be available in cash on hand this offseason and expect the Red Wings to use some of it to keep pace in the East.
A local youth hockey player skates the Canadiens team flag across the ice before a game (AP)
#11: MONTREAL CANADIENS - Valuation: $147.8 million
The Habs bet big on Endorsement revenue, and it paid off, raking in $28 million (tops in BEARD Hockey). An extended postseason run could see Montreal with over $40 million in available cash this offseason. Pretty scary to think about, considering GM Lennart Westman’s penchant for making big moves.
#10: MINNESOTA WILD - Valuation: $147.9 million
While things on the ice did not go as planned for the Wild, things on the balance sheet look just fine. Spending just $53 million in basic in-season expenses and hitting moderate Endorsement payouts leaves Minnesota in a solid position heading into the offseason.
#9: COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS - Valuation: $149.3 million
The Blue Jackets opted to spend a big chunk of their profitable year on retaining players with signing bonuses, which will hamper them in the offseason (just $10 million in available cash on hand, projected). However, there is no denying the foundational financial stability brought in by GM Tommy Barr.
#8: NEW JERSEY DEVILS - Valuation: $149.4 million
When you hit $23.5 million in Endorsement payouts, why not spend $23.45 million on signing bonuses? The successful season on the ice for the big-spender Devils was pricey, but effective. A solid playoff run will leave around $17 million in the coffers, so it’s not raining cash in New Jersey. But the financial future looks promising in the ‘arm pit of America’.
#7: ST. LOUIS BLUES - Valuation: $150.7 million
A nearly dead-even season in terms of basic revenues and expenses, along with spending roughly half of their Endorsement earnings on retained salaries and in-season signing bonuses, puts the Blues on strong, if not exciting, financial ground.
#6: EDMONTON OILERS - Valuation: $153.7 million
GM Dean Richter quietly put together a very successful season in Edmonton. While they may not get much press, the Oilers spent wisely, hit their frugal Endorsement goals, and have playoff revenue to push them well over $25 million in expected cash on hand this offseason.
#5: VANCOUVER CANUCKS - Valuation: $154.6 million
Vancouver seems to be the Texas of the north, as everything seems to truly be ‘bigger in Vancouver’. The Canucks and GM Aaron Sanderson bet big on this season, amassing $87 million in basic in-season expenses – but also earned $23.5 million in Endorsement revenue and a tidy $7.3 million in retained salary payouts. With a successful playoff run, $50 million or more could be in the Canucks coffers this offseason.
#4: CALGARY FLAMES - Valuation: $158.4 million
Low expenses + some tidy added revenues = success in Calgary, as GM Theo Pepper has built his club for the long haul. Despite a cap hit just north of the salary floor at $52.8 million, the Flames are playoff bound and should see around $25 million in cash on hand to start the offseason.
#3: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS - Valuation: $162.3 million
The only thing missing was playoff revenue for GM Matt Swackhammer and the Penguins, who nearly made the postseason despite icing a club with a $53 million cap hit. Adding a modest $7 million in Endorsement payouts to a profitable season will leave over $35 million in cash on hand to start the offseason – one that promises to be exciting for this young group.
Seattle's Climate Pledge Arena is one of the more unique arenas in BEARD Hockey (AP)
#2: SEATTLE KRAKEN - Valuation: $169.3 million
The process in Seattle seems to be spend as little as possible while hitting most financial markers, making the Kraken one of the few teams to earn north of $10 million in Endorsement payouts while making a profit from basic in-season revenue versus expenses (over $9 million).
#1: BOSTON BRUINS - Valuation: $175.2 million
Everything is turning up roses in Beantown, as GM Daniel Lozinski will be adding playoff revenue to a highly successful balance sheet from this past season. Hitting $18 million in Endorsement payouts with almost $20 million in available cash to end the season – plus projected playoff revenue and low expenses elsewhere – means there will be north of $40 million in the coffers come offseason.