As of Sunday night, all teams in the league had played at least 60 of their 82 regular season games. I felt it was time to give an update on the Team PDO situation that I have been tracking throughout the season.
Once again, here are the raw numbers with the teams ordered from highest All-Strength Team PDO to lowest:
|Team Name||All Strength
The Washington Capitals have appeared to stabilize at the mediocre level of 1.007. This is only the slightest tick higher than their nominal range over the last several seasons (last year's shortened season not withstanding). We also see that compared to previous posts about Team PDO, the Caps have failed to make up any ground in terms of standings points that they should have earned with their PDO. They are still basically 3 wins short of where they should be with a PDO of 1.007.
As the following plot, which shows the Caps standings points after each game compared to where they should be based on their Team PDO, indicates:
the points were lost in the first 20-25 games of the season and they haven't been recouped since. I won't flood this fan post with similar plots of all the other teams in similar situations but I can assure everyone that this is not uncommon.
There are teams, such as the New York Rangers, who, as shown here:
tracked their expected standings points quite closely. However, at the halfway point in the season, they have started to out perform their Team PDO. As another point of comparison, there are teams such as the Anaheim Ducks:
who have managed to outperform their expected standings points all season.
So, the correlation between a team PDO and their win-loss record is very strong, as shown by how closely the lines track each other, but it is definitely not absolute. There are definitely some teams who are able to achieve wins despite what their team PDO implies.
Does outperforming/uderperforming the Team PDO predict post season success?
I went back and collected the following data on those teams who made it to the Stanley Cup Final since 2006. The following table shows the results:
|Stanley Cup Finalists||PDO||Actual minus Expected Standings Pts||STD||AVG||SCF Wins|
I through in the Average difference between actual minus expected as well as the Standard Deviation from that average to give folks an idea of how much variation there is in the standings points from the expected.
As one can see, while it is true that the majority of the Stanley Cup Winners exceeded their expected standings points, only a couple did so well outside of two standard deviations from the average (2008 Detroit Red Wings and 2010 Chicago Blackhawks). And there was one significant upset (2009 Pittsburgh Penguins over Detroit Red Wings).
Without going back through all of the playoff contenders (which I may do if time allows), I don't think the sample size shows any definitive proof but it does seem to hint that a team that is capable of outperforming the expected results for their Team PDO is likely to do better in the playoffs.
Does this mean anything for the Washington Capitals?
I think it all points to what we have already suspected. The Caps are a mediocre team that is unlikely to go very far in the playoffs. Of course, they still have to make the playoffs and their current Team PDO indicates that they should only end the season with about 90-91 pts (Expected after 82 games = 97.2 minus their under performance of 6.5) which very likely is not enough to make it.
In addition, breaking PDO down into its component parts as the following Save vs Shot plot shows:
all of the teams in the league have now regressed into the two standard deviations from the league average for both shooting % and save % with the exceptions of the St. Louis Blues and the New York Islanders. The Blues are still beyond 2 SD in shooting % while the Islanders have a uniquely bad save %.
This plot also shows just how slightly above mediocre the Washington Capitals shot and save % are. Clearly, a team would prefer to be in the upper-right quadrant (i.e. - better than average shot AND save %) of this plot and the Capitals are at least one of the 8 teams who has managed it.
What about trends? What teams are getting better which are getting worse?
I have plotted the Team PDO season trend for each of the 30 NHL teams, broken into divisions. Starting with the Eastern Conference divisions, first we have the Metro Division:
In the Metro, the only team who seems to be showing a statistically significant good PDO is the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made significant strides as the season has progressed. The New York Islanders, however, have managed to lose the modest gains from earlier in the season and are now showing serious problems.
In the other half of the Eastern Conference, the Atlantic Division, we have:
Here we see Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins hovering at the two standard deviation line which indicates that their high Team PDO is probably not due to chance. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens finish out the upper half at one standard deviation from the norm. The Florida Panthers have tanked and their Team PDO is now so bad that it too, is not likely due to chance.
Moving over to the Western Conference, we first take a look at the Central Division:
Here we see how incredible the performance of the St. Louis Blues has been all season. Their Team PDO even exceeded the three standard deviations briefly around the mid point of the season and they have now regressed a little back into the fold. However, their Team PDO is still exceptional. Similarly, the Colorado Avalanche has managed to stay above or near the two Standard Deviations line showing their relative skill level as well. The Nashville Predators have the worst PDO but even they are still within two standard deviations of the norm. The Central Division looks to be the strongest of the league.
Finally, the second half of the Western Conference, the Pacific Division:
The Anaheim Ducks are the ONLY team that is showing a decent Team PDO. The rest of the teams are below average. However, only the Calgary Flames are hovering around the two standard deviation line.
I wish I could give Washington Capitals fans some hope for the post season based on PDO data but the current situation does not seem to indicate anything that we didn't already suspect. It looks to be a nail-biter in terms of getting into the playoffs. The team will need to find a way to win games despite their relatively mediocre Team PDO.