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Preds 2010 draft pick named Hockey East Rookie of the Week…

When the Nashville Predators made their sixth round selection at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles, they called a defenseman’s name who had been playing in the United States Hockey League. Not exactly the junior hockey league that’s known for producing star players.

Anthony Bitetto is doing his part to change all that.

The 20-year old Northeastern University freshman was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week yesterday after registering his fourth-career multi-point game with a goal and an assist against the Maine Black Bears, the 11th ranked team in the country.

But this is hardly a flash-in-the-pan week for Bitetto.

He currently has 13 points in 22 games this season and is not only his team’s fourth leading scorer but he’s the highest scoring freshman defenseman in Hockey East and he’s tied for third in scoring among freshmen in his conference. All this from a guy who didn’t expect to be drafted.

“I was actually watching the USA vs. Ghana soccer game when my advisor called me,” Bitteto told just days after being drafted. “He’s like ‘Did you see?’ And I’m like ‘No, what are you talking about?’ And he goes ‘turn on the Draft.’ That’s when I knew.”

So, in the long long line of Nashville defensive prospects such as Ryan Ellis, Jon Blum, Roman Josi, Teemu Laakso and Charles-Olivier Roussel, you can now add “Anthony Bitetto” to the list.

General Manager David Poile and the Predators front office really know how to pick ’em, don’t they?

PHOTO CREDIT: USHL Images (used with permission)