6.19.24 Tulsky Article

RALEIGH, NC. - Eric Tulsky's background is well-documented at this point.

Whether you want to bring up his history as a Philadelphia Flyers blogger or his time at the Naval Research Laboratory, he'll tell you that both played a part in leading him to his newest title - General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Holding a media availability a day after having the interim tag removed, Tulsky issued a statement and took questions from reporters at PNC Arena on Wednesday, offering his outlook on how the organization moves forward under his guidance.

Media Availability: Eric Tulsky

The Cohesive Approach Continues...

What many are curious to learn is how the franchise will operate differently under Tulsky from how it did under Don Waddell.

Asked this directly today, Tulsky said that in some areas some things will change, but the organization's philosophy remains the same.

"There will be some small tweaks to some internal processes, some things where I think we can be a little bit crisper about how we execute on some of the things we want to do.  But our big picture organizational strategy isn't changing," he began.

Waddell, as both president and general manager, oversaw both the team’s business ventures and hockey operations decisions. Under Waddell, Tulsky oversaw the pro scouting department, while Assistant General Manager Darren Yorke led the amateur scouting side of things.  The three worked closely with Rod Brind’Amour and the rest of the hockey operations staff to reach decisions on hockey-related matters.

Now with Tulsky at the top, the hockey side of the process will remain largely mirrored, sans Waddell of course.

"There may be elements of the way we execute that strategy that change a little bit, but as a whole, for our organization, it's really important to us that we have the coaching staff's involvement in all of our decisions. It's really important that everyone in our management team and all of our scouts feel like they have a voice and contribute to the conversation," he furthered. "Ultimately, the job of the leader is to bring all of those voices together, integrate the information that they provide, and help the organization make a decision. That's how we've always operated and that's not going to change."

Not Today, Artificial Intelligence...

Given his rich history in analytics and lack of experience on the ice, Tulsky was asked today if his hiring is the plan of a shift for the organization or potentially the league as a whole. Quick to shut down that narrative, the soft-spoken yet confident leader quipped back with one of his best responses of the day.

"We didn't hire ChatGPT to be the GM."

Drawing a laugh out of several in the room, which included a heavy presence of Canes brass there to support - including Brind'Amour, Yorke, and many members of the hockey operations department - Tulsky went on to shed some light about the facts of the situation.

"There are things that an NHL career brings, certain experiences that people who played in the league have that are an advantage to them. There are experiences outside of playing in the league that can be an advantage too," he said. "There are 10 other general managers in the league who never played in the NHL, and four who don't even have an EliteProspects page."

Again going back to how his previous stops led him to this position, Tulsky said that whether it's "spectroscopic data on a chemical reaction or a scouting report on a game played in Ottawa on a Tuesday", there are similarities in how each can be applied.

"It's not like a hockey career is a prerequisite for doing this job. It's ultimately an executive leadership position and my corporate career brought me a lot of training in how to lead an organization, organizational dynamics, mentoring, and managing an organizational process. Those are the things that you need to put people in a position to succeed and to help make sure the organization is making good decisions. We're going to continue to do that."

Now What?

Point blank, Tulsky's group has some work to do.

There are just 12 days until the opening of free agency and a trek to Las Vegas for the NHL Draft stands between now and then.

14 players who played at least one game (regular season or postseason) for the Canes this year are pending free agents and several of them have earned considerable raises over their 2023-24 salaries.

"This is a complicated offseason, I think we all know that. There's a lot of free agents and we're going to have to work to be creative on solutions to keep the team moving forward," Tulsky said as a part of his opening remarks, acknowledging the challenge at hand.

With a plethora of eyes on and presumable league-wide interest in players such as Jake Guentzel, Brett Pesce, and Brady Skjei, the new general manager said out of respect to the players he didn't want to get into where each negotiation stood, however, he said that two weeks can be "an eternity" and a lot can be accomplished between now and then.

Although he believes that time is on the Canes' side, he was also realistic with his forecast.

"We have a lot of truly outstanding players and people, and we probably aren't going to be able to keep all of them. That's going to hurt. It's going to hurt us on the ice and it's going to hurt us in the locker room," Tulsky answered. "At the same time, it does open up opportunity for some of the players we have to step into bigger roles on the ice and in the locker room. I think we have players who are capable of that."