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Devils advocates: Will NHL team get a buyer, or will league take over operations?

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The Devils celebrate a win at home over the New York Rangers last season.
The Devils celebrate a win at home over the New York Rangers last season.

With no hockey to talk about on the ice, the discussion about the New Jersey Devils has again turned to the bottom line.

Forbes reported this morning that the National Hockey League is likely to take over the Devils near the start of the season in September, unless the team is purchased soon. Over at The Record, Devils beat writer Tom Gulitti reported that "a source with knowledge of the ownership process" denies the accuracy of the Forbes story.

All reports indicate the NHL is unwilling to see the Devils relocated out of New Jersey.

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This morning, Gulitti reported that the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, a National Basketball Association team, may be interested in purchasing the Devils.

The complicated financial picture took an interesting turn last month when Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk announced he was retiring from the NHL, leaving nearly $80 million in promised salary on the table.

The team's ongoing fiscal health has been a sore point for years as it struggles to carve out its own fan base in a competitive market that's home to three teams in New York State and two in Pennsylvania. However, the Devils have reported record interest in season ticket plans in the past few seasons.

The Devils celebrated the team's 30th anniversary in New Jersey in 2012, and moved to the Prudential Center, in Newark, in 2007 following its term at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, in East Rutherford. The arena hosted the NHL Draft in June.

Digital content editor Joe Ross is @joeross on Twitter.

Contributing: Joe Arney, @joe_arney on Twitter.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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