Rangers 2016 draft pick Tim Gettinger is as big as they come in the hockey world.
At 6-foot-6 and 217 pounds, the 18-year-old still has room to grow, which is music to the Rangers' ears as he continues to learn how to use that big frame with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League and beyond following the Rangers inking the fifth round pick to an entry-level contract last week.
"I'm a big body," Gettinger told NYRangers.com on Thursday on how he's used his - literally - biggest asset. "Just being a big body all around in corner, winning those puck battles. Being first on pucks and using my size in front of the net, but still being able to make plays. Using my feet because once I get going making plays with the puck, but just all year using my body more."
The OHL is a developmental league, and Greyhounds head coach Drew Bannister said it's still a work in progress for Gettinger to best use that frame, especially because it'll be relied on as Gettinger moves up the ladder to professional hockey.
"For him to play at the next level, because he's such a big body the natural thing for a coach is to ask him to use it more," Bannister said. "I think for Timmy, he's going to have to get used to that. He's going to have to get used to using his body down low to his advantage."
What separates Gettinger from most other players his size is his skating ability. While big men are known for being hard to move in front of the net, they're seldom considered strong skaters. That's not the case with Gettinger, who has above-average wheels for a player with his frame.
That, coupled with Gettinger's skill set that has led him to career highs in goals with 31 and points with 52, while also tying his career-best in assists with 22.
"A big thing for me is just playing my kind of game," Gettinger said. "Keeping my feet moving, being a force down low. A big thing is having confidence in myself. When the puck is going your way, it's good."
"It makes him harder to contain," Adam Graves said of Gettinger's mix of size, skill and speed. "When you have a player that has the puck skills that Tim does and be able to use his body in a skilled way and be able to use it as leverage to knock people off the puck and using it to screen goalies - that's the side of his game that's really starting to develop."
Ranges Assistant General Manager Chris Drury said that the uptick in numbers are a positive, but that that's only one part of the equation for a player like Gettinger.
"I think numbers tell part of the picture," Drury said. "It's not the whole picture. As a staff that drafted him and is excited to get him, having numbers doesn't hurt at this point. But I don't think they paint the whole picture night in and not out of what he's meant to that team."
Drury said a big asset that he and the organization like about Gettinger is his versatility on the ice, especially in terms of positioning.
"We do think he's very versatile," Drury said. "We had him at center in Traverse City and at big camp after having not played it much in his life. I think it's still to be determined where he ends up playing most in his career, but either way he's a very versatile player, which is exciting."
Whether at center or on the wing Gettinger, said he prides himself on his defensive work even more so than what he does in the offensive zone.
"I'm a 200-foot player," Gettinger lamented. "I love playing with the puck in the offensive zone and working down low and playing there, but … I'm going to put defense first. I'm going to block shots, be in the right position at all times. This year, I feel like a more 200-foot player."
Both Bannister and Graves praised the Cleveland, Ohio-native's intelligence and character, with Graves citing that as a big reason for Gettinger's ability to improve defensively.
"That's part of Tim being a coachable player," Graves said. "Defending is positioning and learning systems and being able to adapt to opposing teams' systems. When you have an intelligent player like Tim, he's very adept at making those subtle changes."
With one game remaining before the Greyhounds - who clinched their division in the Western Conference - begin the playoffs, Gettinger can enjoy the moment he's been working towards his he first laced up the skates.
"Definitely a dream come true," Gettinger said of signing with the Rangers. "It's something I've been working towards my whole hockey career. The day came and it's something special."