Weight: 192 Pounds
Date of birth: March 21, 2000
Hometown: Gloucester, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 5, 92nd overall, 2016 Priority Selection – Round 4, 40th overall CCHL Bantam Protected Draft
NHL Central Scouting pre-season: C Prospect
NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 94th, North American Skaters
NHL Central Scouting final rank: Not available at present
Prior to joining the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, offence came naturally to Sam Bitten. Twice he’s led his leagues in both assists and points. During the 2013-2014 season his 32 assists and 45 points were tops in Minor Bantam for the Ottawa Jr 67’s. The following season he led Bantam AAA with 26 assists and 44 points with the Jr 67’s. He scored 13 and 18 goals respectively. The Jr 67’s won championships in both seasons.
The following season Bitten played his minor midget hockey with the Mississauga Rebels. In 55 games with the Rebels Bitten scored 19 goals and added 27 assists. He would add 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games for the Rebels at the OHL Cup.
Last season Bitten split time with the Kanata Lasers of the CCHL and the Ottawa 67’s. He played in 51 games in the CCHL scoring 13 goals and adding 17 assists and being named to the CCHL All-Rookie Team. In the OHL, he played in 14 games for the 67’s, scoring twice and adding one assist.
Bitten is the younger brother of Hamilton Bulldogs’ Will Bitten (70th overall by the Montreal Canadiens at the 2016 NHL Draft). His father Michael appeared at the 1992 Olympics (Badminton) and mother Doris Piche appeared at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics (Badminton). Cousin Sebastien Piche played hockey in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the American Hockey League, the East Coast Hockey League and is currently playing in Europe.
Bitten is a superb skater with excellent acceleration and top end speed with an extra gear to create separation. He can get in on the forecheck quickly and isn’t afraid to lean on people. He is a smart player that reads the play and makes quick and decisive decisions. He’s very good at causing turnovers in the neutral zone.
Bitten puts forth the same effort in defensively as he does offensively. His skating allows him to come back on the backcheck quickly. But without the effort he possesses to do so, it doesn’t mean much. He uses the same anticipation in his own zone as he does in other zones to create turnovers.
It’s been a bit of a struggle for Bitten offensively this season as he scored just 7 goals and 14 assists while playing in all 68 regular season games. He also potted 3 goals in 5 playoff games as he faced his brother and the Hamilton Bull Dogs, who won the series in five games. Part of the offensive struggles could be due to playing mostly third line minutes throughout the season.
If you are looking for a comparison to Bitten, I would suggest not looking at his older brother. While their skating is superb, I would suggest the comparisons end there. The elder Bitten, while 3 inches shorter, beats you with skill and an ability to use everyone on the ice or do it on his own. Sam, if he’s going to beat you, is going to have to rely on his pure work ethic.
Only time will tell if Bitten can find the offence he possessed prior to the OHL.