The one telling sign that there is trouble in the House of 'Ning (and by God I vowed to never use that nickname to describe the Bolts, shame on me!) was Jay Feaster loading up on defensive depth this off season. Those acquisitions have bogged down the Norfolk Admirals in while they have been short on forwards. The Lightning franchise as a whole lacks offensive depth at this time as well (and please, no one cite Alexander Polushin. That ship has sailed)
Last weekend, at the request of Jay Feaster, Mike Egener was inserted at wing on Blair Jones and Kyle Wavnig's line. Mike was Jay Feaster's first draft pick as GM and has been bounced around in the minors while trying to adapt his game to the "New NHL™". While Matt Smaby, Vladmir Malhik and Andy Rogers have kept the Lightning's attention as defensive prospects, Mike seemed to fall out of the teams graces (even if certain fans by the name of ME kept hoping he'd get his shot).
So the Egener Experiment commenced. And lo and behold what happened? OntarioFan's comment surmises Egener's weekend on the wing:
On a unrelated note. Mike Egener had a good weekend playing forward and surprised the coaches with his ability to battle in front of the net and actually score. Few realize that because his father was in the army and the family moved often that he was forced to play defence to make new teams. He began as a forward and played that position until he was 11-12 and was a goal scorer! If he is given a lengthy chance he might be an asset.
Mike clicked on the wing? BoltProspects.com furthers the tale of the Wing and the Eg:
With the Norfolk Admirals short on forwards to start the year due to four recent signees experiencing work visa issues, and a hoard of defensemen vying for coveted starting spots, it seemed like the perfect time for a career change of sorts for Egener. At Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster's request, Egener was moved up to the wing. The 6-foot-4, 213-pounder responded with an honest effort each night, physical play, and even chipped in a rare goal against his former team, Springfield.
Egener's career high for goals in a year - at the WHL, ECHL, or AHL level - is three (2004-05 Springfield).
"We are going to continue experimenting with him on the wing," Feaster told Bolt Prospects. "We need his toughness in the line-up and we think he is a better fit on the wing. He likes it and is having some success."
So what can be made of this in all honesty? A fast skater, booming slap shot who has played defense most of his amateur and professional career now playing a proactive role on offense instead of reactive role on defense? While Boltprospects article compares Egener's position switch with Ben Clymer's switch in 2001-02, I'd like to think the sky is much more the limit for Mike and what he can accomplish for himself and the team. A power wing with two way prowess is a commodity in this league.