The organizational depth at defense got a little deeper today when the Nashville Predators re-signed blueliner Anthony Bitetto to a one-year deal.
Bitetto tallied 11 goals last season with the Milwaukee Admirals (the Predators American Hockey League affiliate) and should spend the majority (if not all) of the upcoming season with the club. Tuesday, the 23-year-old accepted the qualifying offer extended to him by Nashville, a two-way deal worth $605,000 at the NHL level and $60,000 if he’s in the AHL.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the upcoming campaign will likely be a make-or-break year for Bitetto. Coming off one of his best season’s in 2013-2014, the blueliner’s play over the next campaign–amidst the talented (and full) group of defenseman Nashville currently possesses–will likely dictate his future at the NHL level.
Here’s how Hockey’s Future describes Bitetto:
Bitetto is a defensive defenseman with a booming point shot. He is a strong, physical player with good size, who finishes his checks. He has the all-around ability to be an NHL player, but he lacks polish or consistency. His prospects status will veer one way or the other once he faces a higher level of competition.
You can also read more analysis on the signing from our friends at Admirals Roundtable.
Below is the Predators official press release:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that restricted free agent defenseman Anthony Bitetto has accepted his qualifying offer and signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $605,000 at the NHL level and $60,000 at the AHL level.
Bitetto, 23 (7/15/90), tied for sixth among American Hockey League defensemen in goals (11), and for ninth in power-play goals (6) during his first full season with the Milwaukee Admirals in 2013-14. The Island Park, New York native also led the Admirals and ranked 16th among blueliners in points (36) in 2013-14, in addition to ranking second among AHL defenders in shooting percentage (11.6). The 6-0, 215-pounder split his first professional season between Milwaukee and Cincinnati (ECHL) in 2012-13.
Nashville’s fourth choice, 168th overall (sixth round), in the 2010 Entry Draft, Bitetto did not miss a game during a two-year collegiate career at Northeastern University (Hockey East) from 2010-12, compiling 35 points (7g-28a) in 72 games, and helped the Indiana Ice win the 2009 Clark Cup as United States Hockey League champions. He is on Twitter @ABitetto7.