PDO doesn’t stand for anything, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn anything from adding up the overall shooting and save percentages for a team at even strength. A layman’s explanation for ‘PDO’ and why we use it can be found here over at the Backhand Shelf. Basically, if a team is playing with a PDO number way higher than 1.000, they’re producing above their expected output. If a team is playing with a PDO number below 1.000, they’re producing below their expected output. Over the course of a long season, the number will generally correct itself.
|Team||Team Shooting %||Team Save %||PDO||Fenwick Close %|
Because our sample size is now large enough, I’ve added Fenwick Close % to the table. Fenwick Close is the rate of all unblocked shots in “score close” situations directed by a team at the opponent’s net. Anything over 50% is considered “plus-possession”. This metric does correllate very strongly with zone time. The numbers for each team can be found here.
One thing that happens every year in the NHL is a team jumps out to a really hot start despite a real low puck possession rate and a high PDO. Last season it was Minnesota (crashed in the second half). Before that, it was Dallas (crashed down the stretch) and the year before, Colorado (crashed down the stretch). There are some good candidates for that this year, but no team’s record is more of a house or cards than the Anaheim Ducks. They lead the league in shooting percentage and an anonymous Swedish goalie played lights out for them at the start of his NHL career. Since the season is so short, the Ducks probably have enough points to make the playoffs right now even as they flame out, but I don’t think they’ll win their division.
Chicago, “unbeaten” despite having lost three games, can cushion their regression since they’re also a pretty good Fenwick Close club. People keep asking if they’re for real and the answer is “well, no and yes”. “No” because no team is good enough to go through a whole season without a regulation loss. “Yes” because they’ve been a real good team for the last few seasons. Look at the difference between being a good team and a bad team when it comes to a good PDO stretch: Chicago are unstoppable, while Toronto is 7th in the conference.
Montreal’s Fenwick Close record is a tad dubious. I made the same point with Calgary last week: They’ve played 12th home games wherein they’ve amassed a much better Fenwick record (57.06%) than in their 6 road games (44.68%). Teams do play slightly better at home, so sometimes these early records can be distorted by a team playing an uneven schedule at the start of the season.
That in mind, the Los Angeles Kings have played 11 road games and 5 home games. They lead the league in puck-possession. They’re also close to going on a Chicago-style run. Compare their numbers to last week’s stats: their goaltending has improved by 12 points and their shooting has improved by 8 points, and they’ve gone from 30th to 26th in PDO and won a couple of games. St. Louis is on the verge of breaking out too. Edmonton should start scoring any day now. The hockey Gods are fickle, after toying with our emotions and giving Jordan Eberle a goal every time he took five shots last season, they’ve stripped the Oilers’ ability to score goals.