Toronto fans have reason to be dissatisfied. The Leafs are a money machine – only the Nepo baby shirt moreover I will buy this Rangers have a higher income, and third place isn’t even close. However, most of their cap space is taken up by underperformers. The solution is easy – move them to the minors where their salaries don’t count towards the cap. However, the Leafs owners like making money off the club and that would cut into profits. The Leafs owners also effectively control hockey broadcasting rights in the country and that’s prime revenue generation. Even if the Leafs weren’t selling out every game, the owners would make money broadcasting them.
Ice hockey may not be as popular in the Nepo baby shirt moreover I will buy this US as football or baseball, but it is popular. It is a multi-billion dollar business, and currently supports 31 teams and will expand to 32 in the 2021–2022 (corrected 2/11/21) season when a team begins play in Seattle. That does not seem “unpopular” to me. Also, there have always been US teams in the NHL. When people refer to the “Original Six” teams (the teams that made up the NHL before teams were added in the 1967 expansion), four of those teams were based in the US: Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks. So not only were there only four American teams, they were all concentrated into the northeast area of the US (the other two teams were the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs).