Statistics don’t lie because you can manipulate them to say just about anything you want. Welcome to your weekly dose of stats and why they matter to your fantasy lineup. This week’s focus: Puck Luck in the NHL.
What is Puck Luck?
If you’re anything like my father, right now you’re saying to yourself “Puck Luck? How stupid. Luck is just a result of hard work.” And while you may be correct – there have been some people way smarter than myself who have created a formula for determining “Puck Luck” in the NHL. Defined as “PDO” – Puck Luck is the measurement of a team’s overall shooting percentage PLUS their overall save percentage (both measured at even strength) The acceptable range for PDO is between 98-102 with the general agreement that teams outside of that range will regress back towards the 100 even mark. Any team with a PDO higher than 102 is HOT. Right now they have stellar goaltending and the puck seems to find the net more often than not when they shoot. A team with a PDO under 98 is having a tough time scoring and their goalies are Swiss cheese. On it’s own, this stat is tough to apply to any single night. Is a team that is hot going to stay hot for another night? Who knows. But here’s what I wanted to take a look at as we head into Thursday Night Hockey on Beers and Bets.
Puck Luck In Relation To Points
My line of thought is assuming that a team with a PDO higher than 102 should have more points than the average teams and a team with a PDO lower than 98 should have less points than the average teams. I took the Average number of total points so far this season (10.3) and expanded that out to include any team in the point range 8-12. This should give us a good sample size (16 teams) of “Average” in the league right now.
As you can see, when it comes to PDO vs. Points, there is a strong correlation but a few outliers as well. The outliers are the teams I want to focus on immediately because they are either due for a swift downfall, or a quick climb to glory.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights have a PDO of 96.7 (3rd to last) while being tied for 4th in the league with 14 points. That is scary. Their shot percentage is low at 7.7% and their save percentage is low at .89%. The Vegas PDO is under what is considered “normal” which means they are UNDER PERFORMING. How could a team who is tied for 4th place in the entire league be under performing? Not to mention on Friday they square off against a Colorado Avalanche team who not only is the most over performing team in the league in regards to PDO, but is also missing one member of it’s three headed monster in Rantanen. Stats don’t lie – this game won’t be pretty for the Avalanche. Vegas by 2+ Goals – Book it
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Blackhawks are right at the top of the “normal” level of PDO at 101.2, yet somehow only have 6 points on the season so far. While the slight elevated PDO may suggest that they will regress a small amount, it doesn’t factor in that clearly something is not clicking for Chicago and they will not be able to rebuild without figuring out the X-Factor. Their goaltending is in the top quarter but their shooting percentage is lower than average. Expect Chicago to start putting some goals in the net, but to still be losing a decent amount of games. Tonight they go up against a Philly team with a slightly low PDO, average Save % and average shooting %. This spot is exactly what the Blackhawks need to try and find their groove. Blackhawks 3 – Philly 2
Rangers vs. Sabres
The Rangers have a slightly low PDO of 99.4 and have managed just 5 points on the season. They are tied for last in the league with Ottawa and the future is not looking bright. The Rangers are hosting the Sabers tonight, and the Sabers are THE HOTTEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE. The Sabers lead the team in Points, are top 5 in shooting and 2nd place in save %. This leads to a PDO of 104.7 which is a decent amount outside of the norm so we should expect some regression… just like I mentioned last night before the Sabers went down 0-2 against the Sharks. I believed in my pick and the Sabers came back to win the game late, and the whole performance caused small dip in PDO even though Buffalo got the W.
This game has Sabers written ALL OVER IT. The Rangers have a PDO slightly above 99 but only have 5 points on the season. This indicates that not only are they bad, but they will continue to be bad. Hot will beat cold EVERY. DAMN. TIME. Don’t hesitate to LOCK IN the Sabers on the -1.5 (+210) puck line along with the Over currently at 6 goals (-120).