The Minnesota Wild have made some interesting decisions with regards to player acquisitions this season, not least their waiver claim of Anthony Bitetto, adding to an already crowded defense.
However, despite the awful form of the Minnesota Wild since he arrived with the team, Anthony Bitetto is proving to be somewhat of a smart addition. What’s more is he is actually playing his actual position, unlike fellow defense acquisition Brad Hunt, who has been used on the wing!
That shouldn’t need to be a statement, but it is a fact of life that the current Minnesota Wild roster features a career defenseman on the wing.
Back to Anthony Bitetto though; the pickup from the Nashville Predators has slotted right in on the blue-line, displaying an impressive 57.36 Corsi For percentage, equally impressive that it barely changes when you look to even-strength statistics; dropping to 57.14% – a dip of just 0.22%.
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That goes to show that he is a strong even-strength defenseman and hasn’t really seen any penalty-kill or power-play time in his 8 games thus far with the Minnesota Wild.
Given the number of goals conceded in that 8 games with the Wild, the fact that Anthony Bitetto has only been on the ice for just 5 Goals Against isn’t too shabby.
In the Minnesota Wild’s most recent outing against the Anaheim Ducks; Bitetto found himself most often paired with Nick Seeler. Their minutes clearly put them as the third pairing, but they fulfilled their role valiantly. They weren’t on the ice for any of the 4 Goals Against anyhow!
With Greg Pateryn, Nick Seeler’s previous partner called upon to help fill the gap caused by the injury to Matt Dumba; it’s key for the Wild to have a decent amount of stability and defensive players capable of putting in performances in the 10-12 minutes required of them.
Starting 50% of the time with an offensive zone face-off suggests that Minnesota Wild head coach, Bruce Boudreau doesn’t fully trust Anthony Bitetto yet, but equally he’s not exactly being sheltered.
His hit count is surely something to be cheered about too – 20 hits in just 8 games suggests he’s more than willing to throw his body around.
All in all, he isn’t an overwhelmingly good acquisition but nor is he an overwhelmingly bad one either.
Given he was acquired via a waiver claim, you can’t help but look at his performances for the Minnesota Wild thus far and say that Anthony Bitetto has been worth the risk and minimal salary hit!
Statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.