Nashville Predators: Anthony Bitetto is a Defenseman in Waiting

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators are blessed with young players who provide depth. Anthony Bitetto still has room to grow in his role.

The lovable Anthony Bitetto saw a little more ice time in his fourth season with the Nashville Predators even if it amounted to only 32 games played.  He was part of a rotating defense crew on the third line seeing most of his minutes with Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber.  Let’s see how Bitetto fared in limited playing time this year.

For Anthony Bitetto, he will likely only ever play the role of a stay-at-home defenseman.  The Nashville Predators had a crowded third-line defense group in the 2017-2018 season.  So playing time for Bitetto was going to be limited from the start.  Offense is not a strong suit for him.  Case in point, he scored one goal this year–doubling his career total–and pitched in two assists.  He will mainly use his body to throw some hits and block some shots–he had 40 and 31 respectively.  And he sticks up for his teammates, stepping up to a fight every now and then.

His total games played and time on ice actually saw an increase, so maybe the Predator’s coaching staff will continue to write him in the lineup next year.  The news of Alexei Emelin not returning should also pave the way for more ice time.

Needs Improvement

With a Corsi-for percentage of 44%, it is clear Anthony Bitetto tends to be defending the puck than creating offense.  Of course, the coaches expect this, but it would be nice to improve upon puck possession.  Outside of his Corsi though, the stats show Bitetto plays a back-and-forth game.  The goals for and against, as well as the high-danger goals for and against, are split when he is on the ice.  The actual scoring chances against Bitetto were at 203 this year, a higher number than normal.  For him to solidify a role in the years to come, he will need to limit these chances or at least even out with chances of his own.

Anthony Bitetto, I’m sure, is aware of the role he plays with the Nashville Predators.  He received a one-year extension at the beginning of the year, and hopefully, more playing time will come his way to show the team what he’s got. However, he did not appear in a playoff game for the Predators this year, so trust issues abound.  He’ll need to improve on defense and get his numbers a little prettier to have a lasting career.  Bitetto has a great personality, and he’s a good team player, but next season the team will need a little more convincing.  Overall grade: C