PHT Morning Skate: How McDonagh was almost an Oiler; Kucherov NHL’s best?

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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.

• Find out how Ryan McDonagh almost became an Edmonton Oiler and how Clayton Keller nearly became a Ranger. (New York Post)

• Is Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov the best player in the NHL this season? (Tampa Times)

Shea Weber‘s return has been nothing but good news for the Montreal Canadiens. (NHL.com/Canadiens)

• Here’s one from the CBC archives: Take a look at Mario Lemieux’s career year. (CBC)

• Even after the bye and All-Star break, Taylor Hall still isn’t ready to return to Devils practice. (NJ.com)

• Can Matt Murray keep rolling? Will Evgeni Malkin have a huge second half of the season? Here’s five things to watch for in the second half of the Penguins’ season. (Pittsburgh Tribune)

• Craig Berube will be in the mix for the Blues head coaching vacancy after this season. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

• Even though Nathan MacKinnon couldn’t participate in All-Star activities, he still enjoyed his time coaching. (NHL.com)

• Buy, sell or stay! What should each team in the NHL do ahead of this year’s trade deadline. (The Hockey News)

• Oilers Nation has some ideas on how the NHL can improve All-Star weekend. (Oilers Nation)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.