Professor Fancystats Presents: PDO

Back by POPULAR demand, our old friend Professor Fancystats is here with another lesson in advanced statistics. Today we’ll be covering PDO. Is it magic? Voodoo? Simple math? Tune in and find out! 

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    • vetinari

      I think the Oilers should watch these lessons. Coming from a team that has been one of the worst possession teams in the NHL since the stats became available. Having a stacked deck of offensively gifted young forwards does nothing if you have no defense. Defenseman determine if you’ll be a good possession team or not.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      I’d suggest that the majority of advanced analytics used in hockey are in fact in their infancy and often lack much needed context when being used to predict future performance of at team/player.

      I have no fear of math nor statistics but it doesn’t take a stats major to see that until there is a model displaying statistical significance for hockey advanced analytics and prediction, the numbers are simply that and should be taken with a grain of salt.

      Currently I’d consider it nothing more than a retrospective tool. It’s not ruining the game, in fact it’s attempting to aid in our understanding of the game. Still, it isn’t yet an indispensable tool from a scientific perspective.

  • Burnward

    Question/comment. Not meant to be anti-stats.

    Has high PDO been conclusively proven to be luck?

    Doesn’t skill factor into both shooting % and SV%?

    How do you differentiate between “luck” and “skill”?

    • vetinari

      It’s an excellent question, and one I don’t think has been adequately answered.

      As the article above shows, the Oilers of the 80s had a PDO of 105.4 in 1983-84 and the Islanders that same year were almost equally as high. Having a high level of skill almost certainly contributes to that.

      The best scorers in the game tend to have higher than average shooting percentages and the best goalies have higher save percentages. Ovechkin’s career shooting percentage is 12.4%. Stamkos has 17.2% for his career. Having a couple of shooters like that on your team is going to tilt your PDO higher assuming you have an average goalie in the league who’s around .910 to .920 for save percentage.

      And if your goalie is Dominik Hasek in his prime and he’s putting up a save percentage of .937, then unless your team is full of grinders who can’t shoot straight, you’re probably going to score above 1000 for PDO as well.

      I think PDO is a nice reasonability test, but like any stat, you can’t look at it entirely in isolation.

      Just out of interest, is anyone sending Mark Spector these videos? That guy needs this more than anyone.

      • vetinari

        This is why PDO is really nothing more than an interesting amalgamation of two statistics. It CAN shed some light onto a teams performance as it pertains to “luck” or “getting the bounces”, but it more accurately shows how good a year your goaltending is having and how good or skilled your shooters are. There are going to be all kinds of variance in any give year that you just can’t simply say this team is lucky and another is not because their PDO says so. Look deeper.

  • vetinari

    Hey Jeanshorts,
    Is it not possible to have a higher than average shooting percentage if your team philosophy is don’t waste your time with muffins from the blue line with no traffic in front? Some teams will shoot only if they have a good chance to score. Therefore will always have a higher scoring percentage. Remember when Ebs was interviewed early last season and he said Eskins was instructing them to throw everything on the net just to bring up the shots for stats? Good grief. It’s no wunder he’s no longer an NHL coach.