Maple Leafs ranked worst team in North America

The HC at Noon crew discusses the Maple Leafs season so far after 3 games, saying it's pretty much going to plan, except for in the nets.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the worst team in North America, according to ESPN The Magazine.

In what has become an annual tradition, the publication ranked all 122 professional teams in the four major North American leagues (NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB), taking into consideration ticket prices, strength of coaching, fan experience, ownership, players, number of championships and ‘bang for the buck’ when calculating each club’s scores.

As a league, the NHL scored highest overall with more teams landing in the top half of the rankings than any other league, with 18.

ESPN ranked the Tampa Bay Lightning first among NHL teams and No. 3 overall, directly followed by the Anaheim Ducks (No. 4). The Dallas Stars (No. 10) were the third-highest ranked NHL team.

This isn’t the Maple Leafs’ first appearance at the bottom of this list — the team has come in last place three out of the last four years.

The main reason?

“No franchise in the four major sports leagues charges more for delivering less ($139 total cost per game for a club that has failed to qualify for the playoffs in nine of the past 10 seasons),” wrote ESPN’s Doug McIntyre.

But despair not, Leafs fans: The team’s stock could be on the rise with the addition of Lou Lamoriello and Mike Babcock as the rebuilding Leafs try to turn the franchise around.

Here’s where the NHL’s other Canadian squads landed on the list:

54. Montreal Canadiens (15th among NHL teams)
56. Calgary Flames (NHL: 17)
58. Ottawa Senators (NHL: 18)
69. Winnipeg Jets (NHL: 20)
112. Edmonton Oilers (NHL: 28)
113. Vancouver Canucks (NHL: 29)

As for the Maple Leafs’ Toronto neighbours, the Blue Jays came in at No. 99 overall (24th among MLB teams), while the Raptors scored the highest among T.O.-teams at No. 94 (22nd in NBA).

Coming in first overall on the list for the second straight year is the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, followed by the Memphis Grizzlies.

The highest-ranked NFL team is the Seattle Seahawks (No. 5), while the Pittsburgh Pirates (No. 8) land the top spot among MLB clubs.

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