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James van Riemsdyk wants to stay with Maple Leafs

Forward reportedly hopeful to be in Toronto past Trade Deadline 'because I really love playing here'

NHL.com @NHL

James van Riemsdyk said Friday he wants to stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs through the NHL Trade Deadline on March 1.

"There are so many factors that are out of your control you can drive yourself crazy worrying about [trade talk]," the forward told Sportsnet 590 in Toronto. "Anything can happen … it's a business and there are different things that come into play, but I can't express enough how much I've enjoyed to play in Toronto and how much it has meant to me to play for a team where people care as much as they do here."

The 27-year-old is in the fifth year of a six-year contract with an average annual value of $4.25 million, according to capfriendly.com. It contains a limited no-trade clause.

"I hope to play here for a long time because I really love playing here," van Riemsdyk said. "I try not to worry too far ahead in the future, but that's where I stand right now."

Van Riemsdyk has 19 goals and 43 points in 54 games this season, his fifth with the Maple Leafs. He's third on Toronto in scoring, trailing rookie forwards Mitchell Marner (14 goals, 46 points) and Auston Matthews (25 goals, 44 points).

The Maple Leafs are in third place in the Atlantic Division, which would put them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2013, when they lost to the Boston Bruins in the first round in van Riemsdyk's first season with Toronto.

It is thought the Maple Leafs could trade van Riemsdyk in an attempt to improve their defensemen.

"Coming into the year there was just so many unknowns about our team," van Riemsdyk said. "You could see the potential of everything, but you never know how quickly it'll take for the chemistry and things of that nature to all line up and come together. The coaching staff and management [have] done a good job of getting us on the same page pretty early on in the season, and from there I think a lot of the skills and abilities of guys were able to take over and go from there."

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