PHT Morning Skate: WJC players to watch; Tavares’ impact with Leafs

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos brings his long last name to the Binghamton Devils after signing a PTO. [Binghamton Devils]

• As the IIHF World Junior Championship gets under way, here are some of the big names to keep an eye on during the tournament. [EP Rinkside]

• Jason Robertson and Nick Suzuki go from big trade pieces to pivotal players at World Junior Championship. [Color of Hockey]

• A good look at what teams may be debuting new jerseys for the 2019-20 season. [Icethetics]

• As he prepares to face his old teammates for the first time this season, John Tavares has been living up to his end of the bargain with the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Sportsnet]

• Buffalo Sabres broadcast Rick Jeanneret is expected back in the booth on Saturday night after a health scare last weekend. [Buffalo News]

• “Dan Carcillo’s NHL career ended after concussions. Now he wants the league to better protect players from the same fate.” [SB Nation]

Erik Karlsson on his two-game suspension: “I’m not going to lie. I was very surprised. I can’t really go into specific details because I don’t want to risk anything more since I have no say in the matter. At the end of the day, hopefully, he’s fine. You never want to see anyone get hurt. I wish him all the best. I have a clear conscious for my part. I did everything within the rules, but unfortunately, some people didn’t think that I did.” [Mercury News]

• How Philadelphia Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon is bringing the fun back. [NBC Philadelphia]

Evgenii Dadonov has been much better in his second crack at the NHL. [The Hockey News]

• When the Seattle NHL franchise enters the league they’ll be building off the legacy of the Metropolitans. [NHL.com]

• The Tampa Bay Lightning are showing why they’re one of the deepest teams we’ve seen. [Raw Charge]

• Who are the breakout candidates for 2019? [SI.com]

• How a near-fatal injury changed Eric Wellwood’s path and brought him to the coaching world. [The Score]

• Karl Alzner is back up with the Montreal Canadiens after playing 10 games in the AHL. [Habs]

• “Humboldt’s ‘long, tough struggle’ to balance remembering and moving on” [CBC]

• As we come out of the Christmas break, are there any positives to take from the Chicago Blackhawks’ season? [NBC Chicago]

• Evaluating the play of New York Rangers forward Brett Howden. [Gotham Sports Network]

• Just because you’re in your 70s, 80s or even 90s doesn’t mean you have to give up playing hockey. [ESPN]

• Nashville Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi has names for each one of his sticks. [Tennessean]

• Finally, we’re five days away from the 2019 Winter Classic. Here’s a look at 20 of the best moments from the event’s history:

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.