Two days before the 2023 NHL Draft, forward Aiden Fink was just getting settled in at Penn State University.
While leaving class, Fink got a call from his agent and a text from his dad. He’d been selected by the Nashville Predators in what was David Poile’s final selection as the team’s general manager — a position he held since the club’s inception in 1998.
“I didn’t really know it was a big deal until my dad sent me the video of David Poile’s last pick,” Fink said. “It’s a special pick and I may be a special player for him.”
Poile made a trade with New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald — the first-ever captain of the Predators — to acquire the pick he used on Fink. Nashville dealt its 2024 seventh-rounder to obtain the selection.
Thank you for everything David 💛 pic.twitter.com/QYdDtV0rlj
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) June 29, 2023
Originally, Fink was committed to the University of Wisconsin, but he flipped to Penn State after head coach Tony Granato, who spent seven years with the Badgers but posted just 23 wins in his last two seasons, was fired.
“I’m excited to be here,” Fink said of joining the Nittany Lions. “We’re going to have a really good team this year, and we’re going to try and win a national championship this year.”
When the 5-foot-9 skater was at development camp, he was one of the more shifty skaters on the ice, moving seamlessly and cutting into the defense. He hunted for loose pucks and challenged defenders to move the puck early, and with each rep he took in a drill, he executed it to near perfection.
“The guys that were there were great to me,” Fink continued. “My cousin Luke Reid was there too. I took a lot of things in from that camp here to Penn State that I’m going to work on. … I had chemistry every time I went into a drill. I couldn’t pick anyone on the team but I could pick the entire team of prospects there.”
With the final draft selection of his career, David Poile goes big on upside by taking Aiden Fink at No. 218.
We support this pic.twitter.com/PI3gEZeEbo
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) June 29, 2023
Before being drafted by the Predators, Fink played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He amassed 150 points in 114 games playing for the Brooks Bandits. Forward Hudson Malinoski (Providence College) and defenseman Aiden Celebrini (Boston University) were teammates of Fink with the Bandits this past season. Both are entering their freshmen seasons as well this fall.
This summer, Malinoski was picked in the fifth round by the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Celebrini was taken by Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round. Fink had high praise for the Brooks organization, stating he loved his time there the last two seasons.
“We were a winning organization, winning two national championships,” he said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to play anywhere else for my junior hockey.”
Fink is one of five freshmen joining the Penn State program this fall. Before moving to campus, Fink had a few conversations with Nittany Lions head coach Guy Gadowsky.
“I’m excited to learn after all the freshmen and the upperclassmen,” Fink stated. “I think that’s going to be the biggest thing on the ice — it’s going to be a battle every day and that’s what I’m most excited for. They’re definitely going to help develop me and I’m excited for how many ever years I have here.”
Gadowsky is going into his 12th season with Penn State, where he has a 194-168-25 record.
You can listen to Fink’s full interview from 102.5 The Game’s “Riddle & The Reporter” here.