National Hockey League

Hayes wants to remain with Rangers but knows trade is possible

Hayes, who missed nine games with an upper-body injury before playing in a 1-0 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, is New York's best potential trade chip for teams looking to acquire an impact rental player before the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.

He plays against top lines and kills penalties, averaging 2:04 of shorthanded ice time this season.

And he plays for a team, the Rangers, who are approximately one year into a rebuilding project focused on getting younger and faster.

General manager Jeff Gorton said one year was good for the Rangers because it gave them more time to evaluate the young centers they have, most notably Brett Howden, Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, and to determine if they wanted Hayes' future to be with them beyond the deadline.

He also said he makes a conscious effort to not let his murky status with the Rangers impact his play or what he's like as a teammate.

"You make lifelong friends in this organization with players on the team, and it's a slap in the face to them if you start letting it affect your game."

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