Carolina Hurricanes general manager Eric Tulsky addresses free agents, new role ::

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Eric Tulsky addresses free agents, new role ::

— New Carolina Hurricanes general manager Eric Tulsky brings an impressive – and unconventional – resume to the job.

Tulsky holds degrees in chemistry and physics from Harvard, a doctorate in chemistry from Cal and 27 U.S. patents. He wrote for a fan site and worked his way up through the Hurricanes’ front office over 10 years from consultant to analyst to assistant general manager, leading some to think there is going to be a harder emphasis on analytics.

“We didn’t hire ChatGPT to be the GM,” Tulsky said Wednesday during his introductory press conference, noting that 10 other general managers who did not have NHL careers.

“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.”

Tulsky replaced Don Waddell, who resigned from his position as president and general manager after the season. Waddell is now the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tulsky was tabbed as interim general manager on May 24 when Waddell left and given the permanent job officially Tuesday.

“Getting into the NHL by that route was way off the radar, something I was not even thinking about,” Tulsky said, referencing his time writing for SB Nation, a network of fan websites dedicated to specific teams. “And then even from there, going from an entry-level position to a general manager position was not the normal path, not something I expected to have happen.

“But, look, it’s been 10 years and that’s a long time. I know people look at the background and think of that as an outsider role. It was an outsider entry point. But after 10 years with the organization, I’ve learned a lot about how things operate and it’s hard not to feel like I’m an insider now after all this time.”

The Hurricanes have reached the postseason in six consecutive seasons and won at least one series in all six. But, for all its sustained success, Carolina has yet to reach the Stanley Cup Final during owner Tom Dundon’s tenure. And now Tulsky faces a daunting offseason with several key free agents that could reshape the organization.

“This is a complicated offseason,” he said. “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.”

The Hurricanes re-signed coach and franchise icon Rod Brind’Amour earlier this offseason, but roster turnover is certain. Forwards Jake Guentzel, Jordan Martinook, Stefan Noesen and Teuvo Teravainen, defensemen Tony DeAngelo, Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei and goalie Annti Raanta are unrestricted free agents. Forwards Seth Jarvis and Martin Necas are restricted free agents.

The Hurricanes re-signed defenseman Jalen Chatfield last week during Tulsky’s time as interim general manager.

“We have a lot of truly outstanding players and people and we probably aren’t going to be able to keep all of them and that’s going to hurt,” Tulsky said. “It’s going to hurt on the ice and it’s going to hurt in the locker room. At the same time, it does open up opportunity for some of the players.”

Tulsky said he sees the general manager’s job as not all that dissimiliar to previous work, be it as a senior scientist at several companies or doing post-doctoral work at the Naval Research Laboratory. Several of his patents deal with electrolyte separators and nanoparticles.

“My job was to take in information and make decisions,” he said. “Whether that information is spectroscopic data on a chemical reaction or a scouting report on a game played in Ottawa on a Tuesday, it’s still information and it’s still my job to integrate it with all the other information we have and figure out what to do about it.”

Expectations have been elevated around the organization and within the fanbase. Carolina was the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2024. Tulsky said the franchise has been “consistently excellent,” but he knows there is more to achieve.

“Nobody goes into the business dreaming of having a lot of regular-season points and winning a round or two,” he said. “The goal is to find ways to keep getting better.”