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Tulsky braces for 'complicated offseason' in 1st test as Canes GM

Josh Lavallee / National Hockey League / Getty

Eric Tulsky knows he's in for a tough challenge to kick off his first season as general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes.

"This is a complicated offseason, I think we all know that," he said Wednesday during his introductory press conference, per The Hockey News' Ryan Henkel. "There's a lot of free agents, and we're gonna have to work to be creative on solutions to keep the team moving forward."

According to CapFriendly, the Hurricanes have around $24 million in projected cap space, but Martin Necas and Seth Jarvis are pending restricted free agents, while Jake Guentzel, Jordan Martinook, Teuvo Teravainen, Brett Pesce, and Brady Skjei can all become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

The Hurricanes' previous general manager, Don Waddell, flocked to the Columbus Blue Jackets in May. Carolina promoted Tulsky from his role as assistant, tabbing him to solve its summer dilemma.

"We have a lot of truly outstanding players and people and we probably aren't gonna be able to keep all of them and that's gonna hurt," Tulsky said. "It's gonna hurt us on the ice and it's gonna hurt us in the locker room.

"At the same time, that does open up opportunity for some of the players we have to step into bigger roles on the ice and in the locker room."

Tulsky first joined the Hurricanes in 2014 after the organization was impressed by his analytics chops as a blogger. He also holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard and a doctorate in chemistry from Cal.

Despite his untraditional background, Tulsky doesn't think his promotion will spur "a huge shift" for the team philisophically.

"We didn't hire ChatGPT to be the GM," he said. "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. ... So it's not like a hockey career is a prerequisite for doing this job."

The Hurricanes were eliminated by the New York Rangers in the second round of the postseason. Carolina has been one of the league's premier regular-season teams for the past four campaigns and has made the playoffs for six straight years, but it hasn't seen the Stanley Cup Final in that stretch.

"Nobody is satisfied with that," Tulsky said. "Nobody goes into the business dreaming of having a lot of regular-season points and winning a round or two. So the goal is to find ways to keep getting better. And the good news for us is we are well positioned to keep taking steps."

Tulsky has seemingly been busy during his brief time at the helm. Carolina is reportedly shopping Guentzel's rights and testing the market for Necas while working on a long-term deal for defenseman Jaccob Slavin. Tulsky also signed blue-liner Jalen Chatfield to a three-year, $9-million deal earlier in June when he still had the interim tag.

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