Dec 28, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson (50) stops a shot by Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) in the first period at BB&T Center. Robert Mayer USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers New Years Resolutions: Get Lucky

Its New Years Resolution time and that means everybody is going to “start going to the gym regularly,” and “stop eating so many fatty foods” and “start doing one random act of kindness a day” etc. etc. etc. You probably have one obnoxious friend who says, “I don’t make new years resolutions because I try to improve myself every day of the year”. If your resolution is to be the “braveheart of creativity,” you may be Kanye West and if your resolution is to make the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, your probably every hockey team in the NHL, except maybe the Sabres.

Here are some resolutions that would go along way in making 2014 much sweeter for the Florida Panthers.

Previous Resolutions: Make The Jump

In 2014…..I will have more pucks bounce my way

Who said it? Everybody!!!!!!

Will it happen?

According to The Extra Skater, the Florida Panthers have the lowest PDO in the league in 5-0n-5, close game situations. So what exactly does that mean? Well, PDO is the number you get from combining a team’s shooting percentage with their save percentage. It is useful because it provides a good indicator of whether a team or a player has been particularly lucky or unlucky. A PDO of 100 is said to be completely average i.e. a team or player has not been very lucky or very unlucky. Anything below 100 indicates bad luck while anything above 100 indicates good luck.

Let’s look at this in practice. Say a team has an average save percentage of .900 and they convert on 10% of their shots taken. Their PDO would be 100.0 (90+10). We would look at that team’s PDO and assume that they experience an average amount of puck-luck.

The Panthers this season have a league worst PDO of 95.9 (5-on-5, close game). This low PDO is a result of a shooting percentage of 6.0 (27th in NHL) and a save percentage of 89.9 (29th in NHL). Obviously luck is not the only factor in PDO. Exceptionally good or exceptionally bad goaltending can play a role and some teams just create better scoring chances and thus have higher shooting percentages. Generally speaking however, shooting and save percentage are two numbers that overtime will move towards the average.

The Panthers’ league worst PDO indicates that they have suffered from some bad luck. Maybe a bad bounce here or there leads to a goal for the opponent or maybe an opposing goalie makes a number of exceptional saves. Either way, PDO is the culmination of all the seemingly minuscule events in a season that over time have a bigger impact than one might think.

Moving forward, the Panthers and their fans have their fingers crossed that the team’s luck may start to swing in the opposite direction. If the Panthers shooting and save percentages advance to levels closer to the league norm we could start to see a slow climb up the standings. Unfortunately, the thing about luck is, its luck. You cannot anticipate good luck or bad luck and you cannot sit around waiting for luck to magically lift you into the playoffs. That being said, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of hope and that is why one of the Panthers’ resolutions for 2014  will be to get lucky.

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