Eric Tulsky could be an excellent Calgary Flames general manager (if they can get him)
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike15 days ago
The Calgary Flames are reportedly well into their interview process has they work towards hiring their eighth permanent general manager. As they work through their candidates, there’s one candidate that would be a bold choice – arguably the ideal choice given where they are as an organization – if only they could lure him away from his current gig.
Folks, let’s talk about Carolina Hurricanes assistant GM Eric Tulsky.
If you like Chris Snow and all the energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail that he’s brought to the Flames organization – bringing the club from the relative analytical wilderness into modernity and maturity – you’ll like a lot of things about Tulsky, too.
Here’s how he’s described on the Hurricanes’ website:
A Philadelphia native, Tulsky holds a B.A. in chemistry and physics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He also conducted a two-year post-doctoral study at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. He worked in high-tech industry for 12 years, managing teams of researchers focused on using nanotechnology to solve problems in DNA sequencing, solar energy, displays, and energy storage; he holds 19 US patents.
While Tulsky worked in nanotech, he was a Philadelphia Flyers fan and began writing his thoughts on the game around 2011 on sites like Broad Street hockey and NHL Numbers. His work drew the attention of teams and after consulting informally with a few teams, he began working full-time with the Hurricanes as an analyst in 2014-15. He spent three seasons as an analyst before becoming director of analytics in 2017-18 and eventually getting promoted to AGM in 2020-21. He currently works under Don Waddell, who holds the dual titles of president and GM.
In part because of Tulsky’s reputation as somebody who can translate analytics well to hockey types and in part because of Carolina’s success in recent seasons (partially due to his influence), he’s become in demand. He interviewed in Chicago before they hired Kyle Davidson – the Blackhawks went to the trouble of announcing they were interviewing him, a bit of a rarity. He’s also expected to a strong contender for the Pittsburgh opening.
But Carolina likely covets him. The Athletic’s Rob Rossi sums up his job in Raleigh as such: “Tulsky is essentially already the GM in Carolina, where he focuses on hockey operations while GM Don Waddell tends to a lot of business matters.” Waddell holds two titles and is 62, so Carolina might be willing to shell out big bucks (or convert him from AGM to GM) in order to keep him.
The Flames are a small market Canadian team. Because of their geography and market size, they have some disadvantages. They’ve taken steps over the past several seasons to enhance their competitiveness by building up their analytics apparatus and building the numbers into a lot of different parts of what they do. If they can lure Tulsky away from the Hurricanes, that process could get supercharged.
The fascinating thing about the Flames’ current GM search is this: there are a handful of candidates – Tulsky, Craig Conroy, Brad Pascall among them – that are all completely different from each other, but are all excellent contenders in different ways. We’ll get a good insight into what direction the Flames see their organization going from here based on who they hire.
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