This week on Statistics for Rookies we’re looking at PDO, the mysterious acronym that doesn’t stand for anything.

When discussing PDO the word “luck” is often thrown around. Let’s just be clear that luck has little to do with the game of hockey. These NHL players are operating at a level of skill that is unbelievable. Listing an entire stat as lucky seems unfair and inaccurate. PDO can be used for a team or an individual player. The formula does not change either way.

PDO equals a team’s shooting percentage plus save percentage during 5 v 5 play. That’s it. PDO is considered good if it is above 1. Here’s the formula:

PDO = Shooting Percentage + Save Percentage

To find the shooting percentage, you take the number of goals scored and divide by the shots on goal.

This week, let’s play our hypothetical game between the Senators and Lightning. We’re looking for the Senator’s PDO for the entire game. Craig Anderson’s save percentage is .902. They’ve scored 2 goals and have had 23 shots on goal.

PDO = (2/32) + .902 = .965

We could also calculate the PDO for Erik Karlsson for the same game. Let’s say there were seven shots on goal and two goals while Karlsson was on ice. Anderson let no goals in while Karlsson was on ice.

Karlsson’s PDO = (2/13) + 1.000 = 1.154

PDO gives some sort of value to how a player affects their team all around.  It accounts for scored goals which Corsi and Fenwick don’t.

The main problem with this statistic is that it relies heavily on a goalie’s performance. If your goalie’s save percentage is under .900, your PDO doesn’t have a chance of being above 1. A player can’t control their goalie, which is why PDO is associated with luck. Maybe in the end so much happens on the ice that a scoring chance does come down to luck. But I don’t want to be the one to tell a 6 foot 180 pound NHL player that he’s good because he’s lucky.

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