Chris Kreider, left, of the Rangers celebrates his first period...

Chris Kreider, left, of the Rangers celebrates his first period goal against the New Jersey Devils with teammate Tony DeAngelo, right, at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Two weeks to go before the NHL trade deadline, give or take a day, and if the Rangers are to be believed, no one is thinking about it.

Left wing Chris Kreider, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, has long been identified as the No. 1 name available on the rental player market this month, given the unlikelihood the Rangers will be able to afford to re-sign him to a long term contract. Up until Wednesday night, when Kreider returned from a one-game absence due to an injured neck and scored a goal and had an assist in a 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Rangers hadn’t even spoken to Kreider’s agent, Matt Keator, to explore what it would take to get Kreider to sign a contract extension.

On Thursday, though, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweeted that the Rangers and Keator were expected to talk “in a few days.’’ So maybe the Rangers will try to figure out if – and how – they could afford to re-sign the 28-year-old Kreider. Given Kreider’s likely market value being somewhere in the neighborhood of the $7.14 million per year that former Ranger Kevin Hayes got from Philadelphia, it is hard to see how the Rangers could afford to sign Kreider and keep all the other free agents they’re going to need to re-sign this summer.

But maybe it will be Kreider they keep, and others who get shipped out at the Feb. 24 deadline.

Defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who reported late to training camp after trying, unsuccessfully, to negotiate a multi-year contract last summer as a restricted free agent, will be an RFA with arbitration rights this summer, meaning he has the leverage to expect a big raise from the $925,000 he is earning this season. And DeAngelo, 24, is having a career year, with 12 goals and 29 assists in 53 games, numbers that project to 18 and 45 for the season. A righthanded, offensive-minded defenseman like him would figure to be a valued commodity.

“I don't really have much of a thought process on it,’’ DeAngelo said when asked if he was stressed out about the possibility of being traded. “I guess whatever happens, happens. Obviously, I want to stay, but . . . I haven't even thought into it. What we're hoping is to be in a position where either nobody's leaving, or we're buying.’’

Buying seems unlikely. Two years after The Letter, where the Rangers explained to fans that their window of being a Stanley Cup contender had closed, and they would be going into rebuild mode, they are still rebuilding, even if the hardest part of the rebuild – the teardown – seems to be over.

The nucleus of the next generation seems to be forming, after the signings of Artemi Panarin and Jacob Trouba, the drafting of Kaapo Kakko, and the trade for Adam Fox. There are prospects who are already here (Fox, Filip Chytil, Igor Shesterkin), and others are seemingly on the way (Vitali Kravtsov and Yegor Rykov in Hartford, and perhaps Nils Lundkvist in Sweden and K’Andre Miller at the University of Wisconsin).

But the playoffs are not likely this spring. And so, while they may mostly stand pat, it’s probably more likely they’ll be selling off some veterans for picks and prospects for the third straight year.

Kreider, DeAngelo, unrestricted free agent Jesper Fast, and restricted free agents like Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux and Alexandar Georgiev – all of whom have arbitration rights – are guys who could be on the move if the price is right.

“We know the situation we’re in,’’ said Fast. “We know what could happen if we’re not in a playoff spot, in the playoff race. Anything can happen. But we’ve just got to focus on what we can control. And that’s our game.’’

Fast realizes that, playoff race or no, as a pending UFA, he could potentially be on the move. Some team gearing itself for a long playoff run might want him to be part of a checking line.

“Of course, I’ve loved my time here,’’ he said. “I’d love to be here. But I try to focus in on my game right now, what I can control. And that’s my game. Whatever happens, happens.’’

Trouba looking forward to Rangers' visit to Winnipeg

Jacob Trouba is looking forward to his first trip back to Winnipeg. It’ll be his first trip there since the Jets traded him to the Rangers over the summer. The Rangers play there Tuesday.

“It'll be fun,’’ Trouba said with a wide smile. “Kind of similar feelings to the first game of the year, I guess without the added (element) of it being my first game with the Rangers. It will be nice to see some friends play against some buddies. It will be good going back to that city.’’

Trouba said he stays in touch with four or five former Jets teammates to whom he’s close, and he is looking forward to going back to Winnipeg, which he said he really enjoyed.

“I kind of grew up, and learned a lot about life there,’’ he said. “And that whole experience was -- it was good.’’

The Rangers, who play the L.A. Kings on Sunday, will fly to Winnipeg Monday after practice. Trouba said he won’t be taking his Rangers teammates out to show them the sights, however.

“No, I’ll probably go see some old teammates,’’ he said.