VANCOUVER -- Given the injury-plagued season Jordan Schroeder has endured, you would be hard-pressed to use the word lucky in the same sentence as the Vancouver Canucks center.
But even Schroeder can see the good fortune in finally being ready to return after missing 44 games following ankle surgery at a time when the Canucks are already missing two skilled top-six forwards.
Schroeder, who also missed the first six games of the season after getting hurt blocking a shot in preseason action only to break his ankle in the third game back, returns to a team without two of its top-five scorers in Henrik Sedin (ribs) and Mike Santorelli (shoulder).
"Obviously you don't want to see your teammates injured, but it's good timing," Schroeder said of his return. "It opens up holes and opportunity for other guys."
An undersized forward with speed and skill, Schroeder wasn't sure where he would start against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. With only three players skating in the morning after a 5-4 overtime win against the Phoenix Coyotes, there were no line rushes to read into. But given the Canucks' struggles to score before the rare outburst on Sunday, Schroeder should get an offensive audition.
That's something the 5-foot-8 center hasn't had since the Canucks selected him with the 22nd pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. After two full seasons in the American Hockey League, he played his first 31 NHL games last season, recording three goals and nine points before having a torn left shoulder labrum surgically repaired.
Schroeder was expected to miss the start of this season, but pushed his rehab pace to get into a preseason game. He fractured a bone in his foot in his first game, and missed the first two weeks of the regular season. Three games into his return he broke the ankle again in an awkward collision and had to have a pin inserted.
Now, more than three months later, Schroeder is back after a two-game conditioning stint in the AHL that finished with one assist.
"I am actually glad I went down," he said. "You realize how much tougher a game is than just bagging yourself."
Dale Weise comes out of the Canucks lineup as a healthy scratch to make room for Schroeder, but it wasn't clear whether David Booth would be scratched for a second straight game so defenseman Yannick Weber could dress as a fourth-line wing and power-play specialist at the point. Roberto Luongo will be back in goal one night after a tough 29-save win against the Coyotes.
The Oilers, who also played Sunday night, did not have players or coaches at Rogers Arena on Monday morning. So there was no update on captain Andrew Ference, who missed his first game of the season Sunday with a head injury but reportedly traveled to Vancouver with the team, or right wing Ales Hemsky, who has been practicing but still isn't cleared to play because of a bone bruise from blocking a shot on Jan. 14.
Edmonton is, however, expected to start goalie Ilya Bryzgalov after Ben Scrivens made 34 saves in a 5-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
Here are the rest of the possible lineups for the Oilers and Canucks based on how they both lined up on Sunday night:
Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
David Perron – Sam Gagner – Nail Yakupov
Matt Hendricks – Boyd Gordon – Ryan Jones
Luke Gazdic – Ryan Smyth – Jesse Joensuu
Nick Schultz – Justin Schultz
Martin Marincin – Jeff Petry
Corey Potter – Anton Belov
Scratched: Mark Arcobello
Injured: Ales Hemsky (foot), Andrew Ference (head), Philip Larsen (illness)
Chris Higgins – Ryan Kesler – Alexandre Burrows
Daniel Sedin – Zac Dalpe – Zack Kassian
Jannik Hansen – Brad Richardson – Jordan Schroeder
Tom Sestito – Kellan Lain – Yannick Weber
Alexander Edler - Jason Garrison
Dan Hamhuis - Christopher Tanev
Ryan Stanton - Kevin Bieksa
Scratched: Dale Weise, David Booth
Injured: Henrik Sedin (ribs/finger), Mike Santorelli (upper body), Andrew Alberts (upper body)