Dynasty Hockey League

Contenders / Pretenders / Underwhelmers – Part 1: The Contenders

Hello DHL. As promised here is part one of this series. I decided to break it up as it became more work than I was expecting. 

For this article I looked at the rosters of teams, current standings, and some historical and current shooting percentage and save percentage stats. I’m guessing that most on here have heard of PDO. PDO is a stat that is a team’s total save percentage plus their total shooting percentage(S%+SV%)

Here is what team PDO looked like last season. 

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This shows us that there are a few teams that buck the trend, but for the most part good teams have a PDO of 995-1015 in the DHL. This will be helpful in seeing what teams are playing over their heads and getting lucky, what teams are playing where they should be, and what teams are preforming below expectations.

I will start off by looking t teams that I feel are contenders for the DHL cup this season. 

Boston
It is looking like Mike’s Bruins are going to be a contender this season. The addition of Ryan Miller in UFA this offseason is paying some Major dividends and Crosby is up to his old tricks, leading the team in scoring. This team is really gelling. The Bruins have 9 players with 13+ points through 29 games. This team is looking like the team to beat ATM but it may be due for some regression. The Bruins currently have a 9.1% Shooting %, and a .930 Save %, for a PDO of 1021. Only one team had a PDO over 1020 last season and that was over preforming, super lucky, Washington Capitals. 
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season unfolds for the Bruins. This team may have the skill and goaltending to play all season with this high PDO and even if they do regress back to the mean for the rest of the season they should be a top 3 team in the east. It has also been a help that they are in a butter soft division. 

LA
As most expected prior to the season, Adrian’s Kings have been dominating to start the year. The Kings have 11 players with 10+ points, and currently lead the league in team +/- with a +33. It is no surprise that they are sitting second in the league with only Boston looking down at them. Adrian’s team certainly passes the eye test on paper with a downright scary forward group including Kopitar, Malkin, Datsyuk, and Seguin. One of the League’s top D groups led by Keith and Giordano, and Jonathan Bernier in net. 
When we look at PDO LA currently sits at 1014. This seems like it should be sustainable for the Kings. Historically there are usually a few teams that finish the season with a PDO in the 1010-1015 range. The Kings have the talent to be a team the operates with a higher than average S% and Bernier is an 80OV goalie playing in front of a very solid D, so he should continue to have an above average SV%. I would be very surprised if LA doesn’t have a long playoff run this season. 

St. Louis
John’s team didn’t really live up to the hype last season. His highly skilled team never really clicked the way everyone expected and had a mediocre season as far as St. Louis standards go. This year’s Blues are looking to make last season a distant memory. The Blues have stormed out of the gates this season. This early season surge has been led by [s]Getzlaf[/s] Backstrom and Perry. These two have been terrorizing opposing goalies all season and currently sit #1 and #2 in league scoring. They are a big reason why the Blues are currently 2nd in the West and 3rd in the DHL standings. St. Louis is also tied for first in team +/- with LA at +33. 
Now let us take a look at the underlying numbers. St. Louis currently has a PDO of 1019. That is propped up by a sky high team shooting % of 10.1%. A 10% shooting % is sure to regress, at least by a small margin, over the course of the season, but that could be countered by better play from Tukka Rask. Arguably the league’s best goalie, Rask currently has very average .915 SV%. This is a stat that is sure to improve and if it does look for the Blues to be a favorite to come out of the West in this season’s playoffs. 

New York Rangers
It seems like every season GM Jon Q has a horse in the race and this year is no different. The Rangers have started off the season by taking it to the competition. They currently have a team +/- of +25. This may be propped up a bit by some cushy games against the lowly New Jersey Devils, but the Rangers have played some tuff competition to start the season as well. They already played 3 games against division rivals Philly, New York Islanders, and Winnipeg. Yes, the Orr Division is shaping up to be a tough place to play this season other than a few easy skates against New Jersey. If the Rangers were in the easier Lemieux division they may be sitting on top of the east right now. 
When looking closer it seems like the Rangers have an above average, but completely sustainable 1013 PDO this season. This is what one would expect from a skilled team backed up by a solid one-two punch in net with Smith and Scrivens.
It is looking like anyone with cup aspirations will need to go through the Rangers to get out of the East this season. 

San Jose 
Commish John and his perennial cup contending Sharks are back for another season. With Weber patrolling the blueline, Stamkos and Duchene leading the scoring, and Bobby Lu holding down the goaltending, this team seems all set to make a run at another cup. The Sharks currently sit 5th in team +/- with a +21 and are currently 5TH in the west with 36 points (just 2 points behind 2nd place St. Louis.)
The underlying numbers are a bit troubling for the DHL’s most successful team though. With a 1021 PDO it appears the Sharks have had some favorable luck this season. The 9.7% S% will probably dip a bit as the season moves forward, but San Jose is a team that seems to have enough skill to carry a shooting percentage well above the league average. I think most would expect Luongo to keep a save percentage around .920 as well so it is hard to see where any major regression will come here. 
Even with a dip in shooting % I can see San Jose being a top team in the league this season.

Winnipeg
David AKA Van Huggy has brought back most of his championship team from last season, and I think most would expect to see another great year from the Jets. David’s top 9 forward group is easily one of the top two or three in the league and Fleury is a top goalie this season. The only weakness one might see on this team is the defense. Outside of Ryan Suter and Morgan Rielly, the Jets have mostly replacement level defence. Now this is nothing new in Winnipeg. The Jets were able to win it all last season with a similar situation on D, so we will see how it plays out this time around. So far the Jets have been a little underwhelming with only 33 points through 28 games, but with over $2M in cap space we should expect David to bring in some serious help on the back end once the trade deadline cap increase comes into effect. 
Now, when looking at Winnipeg’s PDO of 1010 it seems totally sustainable. There may even be some room for it to increase. They have the lowest PDO of everyone I have looked at for this contender list so far. With the skill this roster boasts the 8.7% shooting percentage should be sustainable and I think most would expect a .920 SV% from Fleury. 
It seems that with one or two key additions at defense could make this a pretty scary team to match up against come playoff time.

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