WESTMINSTER, Calif. - If he had stayed healthy, maybe Flyers center Brayden Schenn, not Matt Read, would be mentioned in the NHL's rookie-of-the-year conversation.
But Schenn's season has been slowed by injuries. First, there was a shoulder problem in training camp, and then he broke his left foot Oct. 26 in Montreal.
"It's been a tough start," coach Peter Laviolette said after the Flyers went through a 11/2-hour practice Wednesday, preparing for Friday's game in Anaheim. "When you drew it up this summer, it didn't go like this."
Still, there is plenty of time for the highly touted 20-year-old, who will return to the lineup on Friday after a five-week absence, to make an impact this season.
"He's a good hockey player and talented guy, and I'm sure he wants to get in here and be a factor for our team," Laviolette said. "He'll get some chances now with guys out of the lineup, play in some situations, and get himself going."
Friday's game will be Schenn's first with the Flyers since he broke his foot, and he says he feels 100 percent.
"It's good to get some practice in and get some chemistry with my linemates," Schenn said. "I'm looking forward to the weekend."
At Wednesday's practice, he centered Max Talbot and Jakub Voracek. Schenn will also get some power-play time, Laviolette said.
Schenn, who says the hardworking Talbot has been a mentor to him, played in three games in a three-day span recently with AHL Adirondack. In seven games with the Phantoms, he had six goals and six assists.
His performance in the last three games - he collected two goals and two assists - prompted his recall.
"He played better in the three games over the weekend," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "The more important thing for us is his foot held up. . . . I'm anxious to see him back in the lineup."
With the Flyers, Schenn never got into a rhythm because of the injuries. He is scoreless in four games, with a minus-5 rating, and is averaging 14 minutes, 52 seconds per contest.
"It's obviously not the start I was looking for," Schenn said. "Injuries are a part of the game, but hopefully I'll turn it around."
Schenn, playing with guards on the outside of his skates to protect his feet; Wayne Simmonds; and a No. 2 draft pick in 2012 were acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles in June.
The early returns are in the Kings' favor. Richards has 11 goals and nine assists. Simmonds has four goals and four assists, while Schenn has been injured most of the season.
Schenn, whom many viewed as the key to the deal, could swing the trade in a different direction if he reaches the potential expected of him.
Bryzgalov update. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, fighting a cough and cold, said he was sick last week and didn't know if that's why he didn't start the last two games.
Laviolette downplayed Bryzgalov's illness, saying he started Sergei Bobrovsky simply because he was hot and had earned the playing time.
"I think there's something to be said for rewarding a player when he does well," Laviolette said. "Bryz will get back in there. It's a long season, and I'm sure there will be another opportunity for Bob to steal a couple games in a row."
Breakaways. An NHL source confirmed the Flyers are not in the sweepstakes for Anaheim's Bobby Ryan ($5.1 million salary-cap hit), a South Jersey native. . . . James van Riemsdyk is doubtful with an upper-body injury. . . . Jaromir Jagr, recovering from a groin injury, said he would be ready to play Friday. . . . Like most of his teammates, Jagr shaved off his mustache. "It didn't bring me much luck on or off the ice," Jagr said, smiling. "Nobody was talking to me at home, and I got injured."