Undrafted free agents Aidan Fulp and Travis Mitchell make their first NHL training camp appearance

2022 NCAA Division I Mens Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional
2022 NCAA Division I Mens Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

Going through your NCAA career without being drafted can be difficult for even the mentally toughest players, having to deal with the disappointment of not being selected year after year. On the positive side, undrafted free agents have the luxury of choosing where they want to continue their careers. Last season, Aidan Fulp and Travis Mitchell decided that signing with the NY Islanders was the best move to pursue an NHL career.

Fulp, 23, spent the last three seasons at Western Michigan University as a defensive-minded defenseman. In his final year with the Broncos, Fulp finished with a career best 15 points, scoring twice and adding 13 helpers. After signing with the Islanders, he joined the Bridgeport Islanders for the final three games of the season, notching two assists. Now, Fulp heads into his first training camp, where he'll attempt to solidify himself on the B-Isles blue line.

"It's definitely more competitve," said Fulp on his first few days of professional training camp. "Everybody's bigger, faster, stronger. I think the biggest thing is just making plays quicker, (and) identifying options faster. It's good and bad, but guys talk more, so in college, it's almost harder because guys might not talk as much. In here, everyone's opening their mouths and getting open quick."

Another defenseman, Travis Mitchell, 23, spent the last four seasons playing in New York at Cornell University. A captain in his final year with the Big Red, Mitchell plays a similar style to Fulp, as he focuses on the defensive side of the puck first before engaging in the offense. With career highs in goals (6), assists (13), and points (19) in his final collegiate season, Mitchell dipped his toes in the AHL pool last season as well, appearing in six games with the B-Isles.

"Yeah, just keep it simple, getting pucks up ice," said Mitchell on last year's success and what he hopes to bring to Bridgeport this season. "Same thing - when you're in the offensive zone, getting pucks through to the net and seeing if good things happen."

With similar frames at 6'3" and slightly over 200 lbs, Fulp plays the right side and Mitchell the left. There's a possibility the two could find themselves playing alongside each other at some point this season as the B-isles look to refortify their defensive corps.