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New York Islanders Ridding Their Luck With High PDO

The New York Islanders have an insane PDO rating this season. Looking back at other seasons, there’s always one “PDO darling”, why not the Isles for 2018-19?

After a stressful 7-5 win over the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders took sole possession of second place in the Metropolitan Division. Based on the offseason the New York Islanders shouldn’t be where they are in the standings.

The New York Islanders lost a superstar player and brought in a ton of role players. The plan was to play hard-working hockey and be tough to play against. I certainly wasn’t setting myself up for a successful Islanders season in 2018-19.

But here we are, the Isles have a 10-6-2 record and sit two points above the Rangers in second place and two points behind division-leading Columbus. And the Islanders have a game in hand on both.

Like any successful hockey team, luck is a factor in the Isles success. Statistically speaking luck is a big portion of their success.

Luck Might Not Run Out

After Thursday’s game, the Islanders had a league-leading 105.44 PDO rating. PDO is the sum of a team’s shooting percentage and its save percentage. For the New York Islanders that 105.44 is made up of an 11.54 shooting percentage and a 93.91SV%.

That 11.54 percent shooting percentage is lead by players like Valtteri Filppula shotting at 33% (his career high is 19.1 percent) or Brock Nelson with a 24.3 shooting percentage (his career average is 12.4 percent).

And we’ve all seen what top-notch goalie coaching combined with a solid defensive structure can do to a goalie. Both Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner are thriving under a Mitch Korn/Piero Greco and Barry Trotz tandem.

Anything above a 100.00 PDO is considered lucky. Above 105 is really lucky, as in too lucky, and a correction to the mean (100.00) is imminent. But every year we’ve seen team defy expectations and ride a hot PDO to success.

Here’s a table detailing teams with high PDO numbers that helped them escape their early season expectations to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences.

Year Team PDO Rank Conf. Rank
2017-18 Colorado 101.2 15 14th
2016-17 Columbus 101.44 4 11th
2015-16 Florida 101.7 2 13th
2014-15 Calgary 101.03 5 15th

*All PDO stats and ranks taken from Corsica.Hockey

All four team’s PDO was nowhere near the Islanders current 105.44 PDO. But after a full 82 game season, they’re still over 100. At the start of the season, not a single one of these teams were projected to make the playoffs. Most were in fact destined for the basement of their conferences.

They all defied expectations and made the playoffs. All rode their luck to the post-season.

What makes us think the New York Islanders can’t be that team this season? They have a savvy bench boss pulling the strings and a team of players that have completely bought into his system. And success is coming.

A regression will happen for the Islanders. But we’re talking about losing at most a four-point drop in their PDO rank when compared to those four other teams.

If both the shooting percentage and the save percentage drop by an even two percent that’s still a 9.54 shotting percentage 91.91SV%.

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Next: 10 Worst Trade in Isles History

The New York Islanders are poised for a regression but even with a shooting percentage over nine and a 0.919SV%, they’re well above league average from 2017-18. They can still be successful with a regression. The playoffs don’t seem impossible.

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