A Reason to Support Ilya Kovalchuk – The 2009-10 New Jersey Devils Roster by PDO

One of the big reasons I’m so interested in advanced statistics is because they provide a different perspective into a player’s performance. For example, we know that Ilya Kovalchuk is a goal scorer. He’s scored 338 goals in 631 games in his NHL career. This is simple. But how impressive has been his performances? What can help explain his exceptional results?

Well, here’s one way: his PDO is quite impressive.

What’s PDO? Well, it doesn’t stand for anything in particular, as far as I know; but it’s meaning is real. PDO is the summation of a team’s or a player’s on-ice shooting percentage and on-ice save percentage at even strength (5-on-5) play. What makes PDO stand out is that it can quickly show whether a team or player is above the base value of 1. Higher is better, lower is worse, and that’s simple. More importantly, as Tyler Dellow found way back in 2008, is that it’s usually an unsustainable value. A team’s or player’s PDO will regress towards their true mean over time. The exceptionally talented player will be able to maintain a PDO above 1 consistently.

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