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 email@example.com.
• Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm is one of the bigger bargains in the NHL. (The Hockey News)
• There’s a bigger hockey fan base in Alabama than you might realize. (ESPN)
• New team, same Barry Trotz. The Islanders head coach might just be the front-runner for the Jack Adams Award at the midway point of the season. (NHL.com)
• It’s only a matter of time before the New York Rangers will have to make some big decisions regarding veteran players. (New York Post)
• Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella believes Martin St. Louis would be an excellent coach. (Tampa Times)
• The Toronto Maple Leafs don’t have to rush Freddie Andersen back into the lineup because they’ve put themselves in a good position. (Toronto Star)
• P.K. Subban reached out to a young Detroit-area hockey player who’s been battling racism at the rink. (Detroit News)
• Patrik Laine was incredible in the month of November, but his season has been a disappointment for the most part. (Winnipeg Free Press)
• Devante Smith-Pelly is willing to pay to see a fan get a tattoo of Brett Connolly getting a tattoo. You can’t make this stuff up. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
• It sounds like Alex Steen will miss the rest of the month because of a left shoulder injury. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.