Do you believe this is the year Buffalo, under Ralph Krueger, finally gets back to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade? Are the Tampa Bay Lightning just a shell of the 62-win team that dominated the regular season in 2018-19? Will Edmonton and Vancouver claim two of the top three spots in the Pacific Division?

Before drawing any grand conclusions three weeks into the NHL season, make sure you refer to the “luck” stat: aka PDO.

For the uninitiated, PDO is the number you get by adding up a team’s shooting percentage and save percentage. In a short window, teams can wildly over- or under-shoot this number, but over time everyone will settle somewhere around 100. By the time 82 games are over with, some good teams will come in above 100 and some bad ones below, but not to any extreme. Generally, almost everyone will end up somewhere between 98 and 102.

So by looking at 5-on-5 PDO this early in the season we can discover who has been a bit too lucky, and who hasn’t been getting enough breaks.

In this week’s NHL newsletter, we touched on who the top and bottom five teams were at 5-on-5 PDO through three weeks this season, and who occupied those positions at the same point last season (ahem, the Cup champs were near the bottom). Subscribe to our weekly missive — direct from me to you — for pieces like this and more.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at some of the luckiest — and unluckiest — teams so far by 5-on-5 PDO, with a quick note of analysis on how they might turn out over the long haul.

All “advanced” stats from Natural Stat Trick, unless otherwise indicated.


Colorado Avalanche: 105.8
Shooting percentage: 11.2
Save percentage: 94.6

Right now, both their save and shooting percentages are better than last year’s No. 1 team in both categories by a wide enough margin that it’s unlikely to remain that way. The Avs had a top 10 save percentage last season, so it’s not unreasonable to think that number could remain high (Philipp Grubauer is off to a better start this time, too).