Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton claimed Anthony Bitetto—placed on waivers for assignment to the Milwaukee Admirals yesterday—today, ending Bitetto’s tenure with the Nashville Predators.
Anthony Bitetto, joining the Predators at the start of their 2014-15 campaign, has been a 7th/8th defender for nearly his entire tenure with the Predators. However, the Long Island native was still a special player for the Predators; a person best characterized as “locker room glue.” Always seen with a smile on his face and a positive attitude, Bitetto was absolutely beloved by his Nashville teammates.
Additionally, Anthony Bitetto always was eager to give back to the Nashville community. Close friends with fellow defender P.K. Subban, Anthony Bitetto was one of several Predators who joined Subban for his trip to the Montreal Children’s Hospital during last season’s visit to play the Canadiens. He’s also done plenty of work with the Martha O’Brien Center to help families in poverty and, the last two Christmases, invited families from the West Nashville Dream Center to Bridgestone Arena for a party with himself, Colton Sissons, and Austin Watson.
When all is said and done, people won’t remember Anthony Bitetto for his play on the ice. With three Predators coming off of injured reserve hopefully soon, it makes sense that the 8th defenseman would be the first to go. This season Bitetto has only played in 18 games, picking up 3 assists. From a pure hockey perspective, it is difficult to justify keeping such a player on a roster.
However, what people will remember Bitetto for is as someone who did everything he could to help his teammates and empower the Nashville community, irrespective of his own playing time. Selfless, he went about his time with the Predators being the ultimate teammate, making everyone around him better. His attitude and charitable outreach will be dearly missed.
Thanks for everything, Tony. Minnesota, you picked yourselves up a good one.