The Minnesota Wild have claimed Anthony Bitetto, a left-shot defenseman who was placed on waivers by the Nashville Predators.
It’s a little perplexing to see the Minnesota Wild picking up another defenseman, though the clues are there that General Manager Paul Fenton feels comfortable acquiring players that were drafted by Nashville whilst he was working there. Anthony Bitetto joins Pontus Aberg on that list of former Predators acquired.
With guys like Nate Prosser, Matt Bartkowski, Louie Belpedio and Ryan Murphy all stepping in comfortably when other guys have been injured or otherwise missing this season, the signing of a 28-year-old defenseman that was well down the pecking order in Nashville is a bit questionable, especially as Brad Hunt was only picked up the other day too.
In terms of what he can bring to the team, Anthony Bitetto plays a heavier physical game and brings a booming shot too. When you already have the likes of Ryan Suter and when he returns, Matt Dumba; do you need that additional physical presence?
Especially since he never really managed to become a consistent member of the Nashville Predators’ NHL line-up. Across five seasons, he’s appeared in 114 games – by no means bad numbers, especially given the calibre of the Nashville defensive cohort and the struggle anyone would have to breakthrough in their system.
However, it’s a bad look for the Minnesota Wild to bring someone else in from someone else’s organisation as opposed to promoting internally. What message does it send to players that Minnesota draft or players that are currently earning their keep in the American Hockey League.
It hardly paints a picture of being able to earn a spot on the Minnesota Wild NHL roster through hard work.
Of course, it’s very early to judge whether this was a good or bad move by the Minnesota Wild. For all we know, despite being slightly older at 28, Anthony Bitetto could yet surprise us and prove to be a strong defensive pickup, especially with his physicality if the Minnesota Wild happen to make the play-offs.
I’m not sure what I think of this waiver claim right now; it’s not made the team any younger and equally it’s not plugged a clear gap on the depth chart. Time will tell how we end up viewing it.