As part of an experiment and an effort to find more responsibility and ice time for Joe Colborne, Flames head coach Bob Hartley has shifted the big six-foot-five centreman to the wing for the past three games.

And whether he stays or moves back to pivot, Hartley believes the adjustment will only serve the 23-year-old positively in his National Hockey League career.

“I think it’s going to be a valuable investment,” he said. “It’s going to be a great experience for Joe, he’s going to understand how things go on the wing in the NHL and make him understand the game even more. He seems to like it.”

It’s also an effort to generate more offence from the Calgarian who was picked up from the Toronto Maple Leafs in September. In 45 games for the Flames, he has four goals and seven assists, but recently his ice time has been dipping. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 11, he logged 8:58 and was a minus-two. Against St. Louis, he logged 12:32 and was a minus-one. He was moved when the Flames hit the road Monday and Tuesday in Carolina and Nashville, and played right wing versus the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday on a line with rookie pivot Sean Monahan and Paul Byron.

“At centre, you have more defensive responsibilities,” explained Hartley. “By being on the wing, by giving him a little freedom, maybe he’ll get better results offensively. He has a big body so he should be able to battle around the boards and everything.

“With (Mikael) Backlund playing so well, Monny at centre and Staj (Matt Stajan), I’m trying to find ice and new roles for Joe.”

Truth be told, it’s a familiar role for Colborne, who spent most of his career at the University of Denver as a winger.