Tuesday morning, the Nashville Predators announced that Yannick Weber, Matt Irwin, and Anthony Bitetto had all signed contract extensions.
Weber and Irwin both inked two-year $1.35 million deals, and Bitetto signed a one-year $650,000 extension.
Of the three, Irwin has seen the most time this season, playing in 31 games. In a little over 13 minutes on ice per game, Irwin has recorded 2 goals and 5 assists this season from the blue line. Despite better performance, he is often scratched for Weber, who only has one goal and two assists in 25 games this year.
Reliability and Commitment
Irwin and Weber aren’t flashy, high-scoring defenseman like P.K. Subban, and they don’t skate as well as Roman Josi. However, they are reliable on the third pair. Both played all 22 games in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and can be trusted to ease the burden for the top 4 Predators defensemen. They don’t put up huge numbers, but they play solid defense that players and coaches are comfortable with.
Bitetto was drafted by the Predators in 2010, and has been with the organization since then. He has risen through the ranks in the AHL, and is now a full-time Predator, although he is often scratched. Like Irwin and Weber, Bitetto isn’t flashy and rarely makes headlines.He also has one goal and two assists this season.
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All three said that re-signing with Nashville was a no-brainer. The three are committed to the team, and believe that “there’s something special in this room” and “a certain culture here that thrives to win” according to Weber.
The trio loves playing together and loves Nashville. They are in it for the long haul and believe that they play for a championship-caliber team.
The signing of Irwin, Weber, and Bitetto in reality is huge for the Predators. The three have been around for a few years, and are not new to the team, organization, or success. Similarly, they have solid playoff experience that should help this time around.
With their signings, the Predators now have their top seven defensemen locked up through the spring of 2019. The depth is huge for the Nashville Predators, as their success and franchise have always been built around defense.
David Poile has done a wonderful job lately of re-signing core pieces of the team, and bringing in the needed parts for success. Extending Irwin, Weber, and Bitetto is just another piece in Poile’s championship puzzle.