I have mumbled a couple of defensive possibilities -- veteran defensive possibilities -- the last couple of weeks as the torrent of transactions in the NHL was occurring. I believed that between Jay Feaster and John Tortorella, Bolts management would be set on acquiring a veteran defensiveman to be the number six defensiveman on the squad.
Yet the pickings are slim on defense at this point and training camp is inching closer and closer. One has to wonder how much of a chance there is of the Lightning promoting a prospect to the big club?
Feaster has been on record as saying the team would not rush a prospect from Juniors or Springfield to the NHL. Any voids that exist would be filled by veterans (lower level veterans and be a healthy scratch when need be). Yet, like I said, one has to wonder...
Would the Lightning give prospects such as Mike Egener, or Gerard Dicaire a chance to grab the #6 defensiveman slot?
You might remember Egener -- Feaster's first NHL draft pick, a stay-at-home defensiveman who played with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. Mike's split the last two years in Calgary and at Springfield... One thing that can be ascertained by his statistics from his time at Calgary and his time in Springfield...
This guy has a mean streak.
He racked up 183 PIM's in only 45 games in Springfield last season. In his final two seasons with the Calgary Hitmen, he earned 210 and 228 PIM's. The former coming in only 40 games (2002-03) and the latter coming in 65 (2003-04).
This also a factor that might hurt Egener's chances of making this roster. John Tortorella has a loathing of stupid penalties or careless penalties for that matter. One only needs to recall Torts war with André Roy to understand what can happen when you aren't disciplined on ice.
Still, to have such a physical defensiveman who is not afraid to mix it up...
At any rate, Egener would have to convincingly make the roster for the team to put him on the roster and he would have to convince people he wouldn't be learning on the job. That goes for any other prospect that could fill the defense in Tampa. Be it Paul Ranger, Doug O'Brien or Gerard Dicaire. Feaster and the Lightning as an organization don't want to hinder a prospects development by having them in Tampa only to be a healthy scratch, night after night.