Advanced Analytics 101: Applying PDO in fantasy hockey

Last time we talked about Corsi and how to use it for fantasy hockey. This week we will be talking about the analytical stat PDO. PDO originally got its name from Brian King. It didn’t stand for anything, but now, some people call it Percentage Driven Outcomes.

PDO is the sum of a team’s shooting percentage plus save percentage at five-on-five play. The purpose of PDO is to show which teams or players will normalize towards the mean. If a team or player is above or below this mark, we can expect regression towards the 100%.

If you look for this stat online, some sites multiply the number by 10 and the PDO number is close to 1000. does not follow that trend and the numbers below will be close to 100. For Fantasy purposes, let’s take a look at the top 20 five-on-five scorers from last season.

2017-18 PDO

These scorers are the best of the best, and what stands out is Connor McDavid’s PDO. McJesus recorded 13 more points than anyone else during five-on-five play and his PDO is 101.71. The number shows that his play is sustainable, and he is clearly the best in the league right now.

Most players had a few ticks above 100, but some players like William Karlsson, Yanni Gourde, and Auston Matthews had a PDO of 105+. These players are drifting away from 100 which could scream unsustainable. Patrick Kane and Dylan Larkin are the only players on this list that are below 100 which could mean some positive regression.

You will need more numbers to see which way regression could hit, and you can start with shooting percentages. Now that we’ve seen how last season turned out we can make a good judgement call for our players this season. Let’s take a look at the top 20 five-on-five scorers.

2018-19 PDO

There are a couple of candidates that should slow down as the season progresses. Mikko Rantanen is an interesting player because he plays on one of the best lines in the NHL. His PDO is at 108.1 which will come down, but I wouldn’t be selling high since he plays with Nathan MacKinnon. Max Domi, on the other hand, seems like a sell high candidate. Montreal is not a good team, and since Domi has never been this productive before I’d be shopping him.

We are at the midpoint of November and the good players are starting to separate themselves from the pack. PDO helps us when buying low on players as well as selling high. It’s an excellent fantasy tool, but you will need other stats like shooting percentages and five-on-five shooting percentages to make an informed decision.

Some players can sustain a higher PDO while others won’t get back to the mean. Using this, along with who they’re playing with, will give us a good indication if we want to keep them on our fantasy team or not.

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