It hasn’t been the most ‘up’ of times for Milwaukee Admirals fans who have seen the likes of Joe Piskula, Mike Liambas, Magnus Hellberg, and more exit stage left this off-season. Now for a spot of great news. The Nashville Predators have stamped out a new one-year two-way contract for defenseman Anthony Bitetto.
Press Release via Nashville Predators:
Nashville, Tenn. (July 13, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Monday that defenseman Anthony Bitetto has accepted his qualifying offer and signed a one-year, two-way contract with the club worth $665,500 at the NHL level and $60,000 at the AHL level.
Bitetto, 24 (7/15/90), made his NHL debut during the 2014-15 season, appearing in seven games for the Predators in January and February. The Island Park, N.Y., native spent the majority of his third professional season with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals in 2014-15, ranking second among club blueliners in points (4g-26a-30pts). During his first full AHL season in 2013-14, the 6-1, 200-pounder tied for sixth among AHL defensemen in goals (11), and for ninth in power-play goals (6).
Nashville’s fourth choice, 168th overall (sixth round), in the 2010 Entry Draft did not miss a game during his two-year collegiate career at Northeastern University (Hockey East) from 2010-12, compiling 35 points (7g-28a) in 72 games and being named to the 2011 Hockey East All-Rookie Team. During his draft-eligible season in 2009-10, Bitetto was a 2009-10 All-USHL Second Team selection with the Indiana Ice, ranking fourth among United States Hockey League defensemen in points, third in assists and sixth at the position in goals (11g-29a-40pts).
He is on Twitter @ABitetto7.
Bitetto has taken massive steps forward in his development these last two seasons. In 2013-14 he exploded for 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) in 73 games. If there was a lone downside to that year it was having a plus/minus of -13. His 2014-15 season he addressed the defensive areas of his game while still providing an offensive touch from the blue line: 30 points (4 goals, 26 assists) in 70 games with a plus/minus of -1. It all built up to his first taste of NHL hockey by contributing 7 games of work for the Predators during last season.
This move is of course great business for Nashville. They can really use that extra option from the AHL that can instantly step up into their NHL ranks if need be. He’ll immediately assume the role as the top defenseman in the Admirals outfit for the 2015-16 season and should seamlessly plug into any and all on-ice situations.
Simply put, this is a win/win to have Bitetto back. He always seems to take the year before him and one-up it. I’m excited to see what 2015-16 will be like for him and I think that the biggest beneficiary of this is of course the Admirals who needed a legitimate anchor in their defense. He will be that. And it will set him up nicely for Nashville.