Max Iafrate - Kitchener Rangers
6'2" - 220 Pounds
D.O.B. March 28, 1994
Iafrate was originally drafted by the Plymouth Whalers in the first round, 15th overall, in the 2010 OHL Priority Draft. He was traded in September to the Rangers for third round picks in 2015 and 2016. The Rangers and Whalers also swapped Import Picks for 2012.
During the 2009-2010 season, Iafrate played for Belle Tire of the MWEHL where he scored 7 goals and 9 assists with 96 penalty minutes in 38 games. He played his first season in the OHL the following year with the Whalers. In 62 games he had 5 goals and 2 assists to go along with 74 penalty minutes. Through 30 games with the Rangers this season, Iafrate has 3 goals and 8 assists with 40 penalty minutes and is a plus 10, which is second among Rangers defensemen.
Iafrate is the son of 15 year NHL defenseman Al Iafrate. No hockey fan needs an introduction to the elder Iafrate as he was well known for having one of the hardest shots in the NHL.
Iafrate has excellent size and is not afraid to use it. He's a smooth skating defenseman with an ability to rush the puck. He has a very good shot from the point and is an excellent stick handler. He's a smart hockey player that only lacked confidence. When used in the right situations and given the opportunities, Iafrate should excel.
The best way to describe Iafrate is "high risk, high reward". I think with his skill set, someone in the NHL will be willing to take the risk.
We spoke with Kitchener Rangers Analyst for 570 News and morning anchor on Sportsnet 590 Mike Farwell about Iafrate.
"In my opinion, Max has made huge strides over the past month or so. Truly. I'm not sure if it's just coming into his own or feeling comfortable with what he's being asked to do. But in the early days, he looked as though he'd be another power play option on the point to complement Murphy. Iafrate would play either side of the point and that seemed to be his main function" said Farwell.
So how has his play been lately now that he is used in different situations ? Farwell says "Over the last little while he's been rushing the puck a lot more and it really is something to behold. His skating is very smooth and he's shown an uncanny ability to stickhandle through a crowd and get pucks deep or create scoring chances."
If you are wondering whether his shot is at the level of his fathers or will get their eventually Farwell says "Then there's his shot, which also seems to be approaching its full potential. The shot is both hard and accurate and he's been using it very effectively. Along with Murphy, Iafrate's play of late is giving the Rangers a legitimate offensive threat from the blueline."
In his last 9 games, Iafrate has 3 goals and 3 assists. For now, it looks like Iafrate is playing more comfortably and has found his niche.
You can follow Mike Farwell and his OHL and Kitchener Rangers coverage on twitter here
Photo compliments of kitchenerrangers.com