No. 13: New Jersey Devils

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 12:09 PM ET
By Ross Marrinson | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 50
Title track: 11
Ownership: 52
Coaching: 39
Players: 13
Fan relations: 12
Affordability: 51
Stadium experience: 21
Bang for the buck: 11

After a miserable 2010-11 campaign in which the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996, the Devils returned to their winning ways, reaching the Stanley Cup this year for the fourth time in the past 17 seasons. The Devils increased their ranking in seven of our eight categories and jumped to 13th overall, fueled by a 27-spot jump in stadium experience -- the beautiful Prudential Center, just 5 years old, provides the fourth-best experience in the league -- and a 41-spot jump in coaching, due to Peter DeBoer's replacing John MacLean after a 9-22-2 start in 2011. Hot dogs, soda and beer are all more expensive than the league averages, but with an average ticket price of $45.86, 20 percent less than the NHL mean, the Devils' bang for the buck jumped 68 spots to 11th overall, good for third best in the league. With the Nets' move to Brooklyn, the Devils are now the only pro franchise that calls itself an exclusively New Jersey team. And if that wasn't enough to earn fans' loyalty, the nine division titles in the past 15 years seals the deal.