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# Call Of The Wilde: Habs PDO Foretells Turnaround

*October 10, 2017*

By Brian Wilde

Even if you are old school, there is one advanced stat you should not ignore. It practically predicts the future. Not always in the short term, but always in the long term. It’s called PDO and if your favourite team’s PDO is out of whack in the short term, expect it to come back to the norm in the long term.

The PDO is the sum of a shooting percentage and a save percentage, so naturally the mean average of this is 100 – there are only two results for any shot on net: a save or a goal. For example, if a team has an 8 percent shooting percentage, which is the league norm, then the save percentage of the opposition that they have faced is obviously at 92 percent. So a PDO of 100 is, of course, the league average. Side note: PDO doesn’t actually stand for anything. It’s the handle used by Brian King, who was the first to propose it.

I discovered the PDO one year when the Toronto Maple Leafs were making a run to the playoffs and everyone was very excited that the Leafs were legit. Their PDO at the time was totally extended and it was easy to predict that .940 goaltending from James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier was not going to continue, nor was their 13 percent shooting percentage. Sure enough, they collapsed down the stretch in the last 25 games and missed the playoffs as those elevated PDO numbers were unsustainable over a full season.

So on to the Montreal Canadiens at the moment to show you what they are experiencing now can not continue in the long run.

Here early in the season are some of the league PDO numbers, and we have to admit here that the sample size is small. The larger the sample size with the PDO being extended, the better the chance that a move back to the average will be found.

It doesn’t have to turn around tonight for the Habs, but it will not stay like this over the season. This is a 100 percent guarantee. That’s right. Right here… Brian Wilde is giving you a solemn promise that the Montreal Canadiens will *not* continue with this PDO number and that it will go up from here. That’s a 100 percent promise.

Here are the league leaders in the PDO stat – the most important analytics tool in all of hockey by a wide margin, in my estimation.

TEAM | SAVE % | SHOOTING % | PDO |
---|---|---|---|

CHICAGO | .943 | 19.1 | 114.5 |

VANCOUVER | .943 | 11.5 | 110.4 |

LOS ANGELES | .983 | 9.2 | 107.5 |

WASHINGTON | .919 | 16.9 | 108.0 |

COLORADO | .944 | 10.0 | 106.9 |

** Note: PDO looks at the 5vs5 save percentage and shooting percentage*

The Blackhawks lead the league in PDO with a 114.5 on the back of a save percentage that is elevated at .943 and a shooting percentage that is completely unsustainable of 19.1 percent. Remember that the league average of shooting percentage is 8 percent and the save percentage league average is .920. What this means when you break it down is that *if* the Hawks were winning with a poor save percentage and a poor shooting percentage *then* you could expect that the wins would continue as their PDO normalized. With these Hawks numbers elevated, especially a shooting percentage that is seriously not even possible by the 10 game mark, never mind over a season, one can easily surmise that the Hawks will not continue on this path.

In fact, the path of all five of these league leaders are not sustainable. Vancouver will not do 11.5 percent shooting as this is a very high number. Los Angeles will obviously not get .983 goalkeeping this season. Washington is not going to continue to score at a 16.9 percent shooting clip. Colorado will not continue to get .944, nor 10 percent as both will drop to averages.

As a real example for Canadiens fans, when the Habs got off to their start of 9 wins in the first 10 games, their PDO was through the roof with a shooting percentage of 14, which is of course unsustainable. So when the Habs began to falter, it was no surprise to the analytics community who follow PDO. The analytics community can practically predict the future using this statistic because over the long run extended numbers will come back to earth. The 14 percent shooting percentage for ten games couldn’t have lasted; nor could the Habs, and as we know they didn’t.

Here are the bottom five in PDO right now in the NHL. Take a close look at the Habs fortunes and how they can not possibly continue this badly over a larger sample:

TEAM | SAVE % | SHOOTING % | PDO |
---|---|---|---|

SAN JOSE | .870 | 6.7 | 94.3 |

BUFFALO | .865 | 7.1 | 93.6 |

DALLAS | .882 | 3.5 | 91.7 |

NASHVILLE | .879 | 5.5 | 91.6 |

MONTREAL | .892 | 2.7 | 90.2 |

Montreal has the worst PDO in the NHL. The Habs also have the worst shooting percentage in the entire NHL at an unsustainable 2.7 percent. When the Habs went through the collapse in December and January when they missed the playoffs with Carey Price injured, all the talk was about the goaltending then, but the shooting percentage during that two month collapse when they won only three hockey games over 58 days was 4.5 percent. That percentage was *half* of the league average, and it was just as responsible for the collapse as was their abysmal save percentage.

Looking at right now, as bad as that 4.5 percent collapse was then in that horrific year, this year’s shooting percentage so far is much worse at 2.7 percent. Even reverting back to the league average of 8 percent changes the Habs fortunes drastically. Why, even a move from 2.7 to 4.5 would practically double the output, never mind these Habs players finding the league average at least.

Also, does anyone think that Carey Price is going to have a save percentage this season of .892? This abysmal stat is also not sustainable for the Canadiens.

I *100 percent guarantee* you that both of those numbers, meaning the PDO, will be stronger as the season progresses. The .892 will turn into a .925 likely and the 2.7 will turn into something much higher.

Even if you hate analytics, the bottom line of those numbers finding a normal and logical path is this: The Habs will score more goals and allow fewer. That always means more wins too.

I, Brian Wilde, 100 percent guarantee it.

Great COTW. Hope you’re right Brian. It’s the same story every year.