Blue & Green Machine: Canucks PDO Numbers

Rich Lam

Last week as a change of pace I looked at the Canucks individual and team puck possession numbers after a hectic week in their schedule. This week I'll explore PDO numbers to help pinpoint who's hot and who's struggling.

Along with Corsi and Fenwick, PDO is an extremely helpful statistic for helping paint a bigger picture of what is happening on the ice, specifically when it comes to pinpointing when a player is on a hot streak or when they're just a victim of bad luck. It provides a lot more context than a stat like plus/minus because it factors in what the entire team is doing when a certain player is on the ice. Hockey is a team game, so putting too much stock in an individual statistic like plus/minus is pretty ridiculous.

For the uninitiated, adding together a team's shooting percentage and save percentage while a player is on the ice generates their PDO number. If the number is much higher than 1.000 that player is generally producing at an unsustainable level over the long-term. The Canucks as a team have consistently had a PDO of over 1.000 the last several seasons due to elite goaltending, and they also have a couple special players on their roster who are able to drive shooting percentage.

Here are the individual player PDO numbers so far this season:

Pdo-apr1_medium

* All data bulled from Behind the Net.

Notes

  • I included games played for a reason. Guys like Barker, Gordon and Pinizzotto haven't played enough to generate a number that really tells us anything. Case in point: the zeros under team sh% next to Gordon and Pinizzotto's names. The team hasn't scored yet with those guys on the ice. Poor Pinizzotto hasn't had much support from his goaltenders either.
  • We know Zack Kassian was in a funk before his injury, and the numbers here paint a pretty clear picture of why. His 0.892 on-ice sv% is the lowest of any forward who's played 20 games, and his on-ice sh% is the lowest of any forward in the top nine.
  • Meanwhile, Jannik Hansen is on fire. He's been playing great, but the bounces have been going his way as well. Over the course of a full season we'd expect his shooting numbers to decline, but this isn't a full season, so if he's lucky he may be able to ride it through the playoffs.
  • With the season he is having, I expected Mason Raymond's number to be higher here. His on-ice sh% isn't astronomically high, and he's 10th amongst forwards (with at least 10GP) in on-ice sv%. This is a good sign because it suggests we shouldn't see much of a regression from him down the stretch.
  • Dan Hamhuis has been +22 in his last two seasons in Vancouver. This season he's just +1, and here we can see why: he's the only defenceman with a sub-0.900 on-ice sv%. Hamhuis is the same solid defenceman he's been the past two seasons, so this is Exhibit A of why plus/minus is pretty much useless.
  • The Sedins are a special case, as they consistently have PDO numbers north of 1.000. There are numerous reasons for this: they start the majority of their shifts in the offensive zone, they're puck possession monsters with limited chances against which helps keep their on-ice sv% high, and they put themselves and their linemate in a prime position to score; in the four full seasons Alex Burrows has been on their wing, he's never had a sh% lower than 14%.
  • The Canucks as a team have a perfectly reasonable 1.008 PDO at the moment, and have consistently been near the top of the league since 2009. You can thank Roberto Luongo for that. If there's an argument for keeping Luongo, this is it. Though it is looking promising, there's no way to know whether Cory Schneider is going to be able to provide that level of goaltending over such a long period of time.
  • To conclude, with a couple of exceptions, there's not a lot of evidence to suggest the overall performance of this group is going to change drastically over the remainder of this season. Hansen could cool off a bit, and when Kassian gets another shot in the lineup his production should pick back up.

    With the lack of offense lately, and no statistical evidence to suggest that it's due for a breakout, this team needs a serious shot in the arm at the trade deadline. I believe they're two quality moves and a healthy Ryan Kesler away from contending, and while things could look a lot different in two days, at the moments it's difficult to feel overly optimistic about the team making a deep run this spring.

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