Hurricanes not panicking after losing key players at start of free agency

Defenseman Brett Pesce and utility forward Stefan Noesen each departed for the New Jersey Devils. Forward Teuvo Teravainen, who was third on Carolina with 53 points (25 goals, 28 assists) in 76 games last season, left for the Chicago Blackhawks, and defenseman Brady Skjei landed with the Nashville Predators.

They are departures that affect every aspect of the Hurricanes’ game: offense, defense and special teams.

“It is tough to see players leave,” Tulsky said. “These are players that have been important for us on the ice and that we care for deeply off the ice. I hate to say goodbye to people that have been a big part of our organization.

“At the same time, if they have other situations that are better for them, I am happy for them. I think every single player who left we made offers to and tried to get deals done. It’s our job to figure out how to react to that and how to take steps to keep moving forward.”

Moving forward for the Hurricanes will be slow and methodical. It’s unlikely there will be knee-jerk reactions along the way.

Tulsky has been with Carolina for 10 seasons and has been an important adviser for Jim Rutherford, Ron Francis and Waddell, the three other men to occupy the GM chair since Tulsky’s arrival in 2014.

He has seen the merits of a conservative approach. He believes in it.

The Hurricanes have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past six seasons, including two trips to the Eastern Conference Final, and have done so without many high-risk acquisitions.

“We’ve built what we feel is a sustainable path to success by avoiding the temptation to take shortcuts,” Tulsky said. “The urge to splurge on July 1 is always very high and it is often regretted.

“There are a lot of teams right now trying to figure out how to get out of contracts very similar to the ones being signed today. We want to keep getting better. We need to do that, we just need to do it in a sustainable way.”

The Hurricanes started restocking their roster with moves around the edges Monday. They did not sign a big-name player.

Carolina re-signed forward Jordan Martinook and brought in forwards William Carrier, Tyson Jost and Eric Robinson. None has a 20-goal NHL season to his name. The Hurricanes also added defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Walker.

“Our prioritization was players who really fit,” Tulsky said. “We are looking for players who come in, can play in [coach] Rod [Brind’Amour]’s up-tempo system, can forecheck, can make plays on the cycle and can really make sure that we play the responsible, two-way, high-pressure game that the Hurricanes have come to be known for under Rod.”

Tulsky also cited the prospects in the Hurricanes system, which he called an “absolutely fantastic pipeline of talent.” He said there are young NHL players ready for bigger roles and players on the cusp of the NHL ready for added responsibility.

“It’s a balancing act,” he said. “It’s not a rebuild. We are not turning things over completely to the kids, but we do need to leave room for them to keep growing and assuming bigger and bigger roles.”

Now, with most of the big names and high-ticket players already signed, Carolina will look for some lower-risk options in the free agent market and will work on its restricted free agents. They could even swing a trade or two.

“We are looking for other ways to work through this,” Tulsky said. “We do need to find ways to get better without hampering or handcuffing ourselves long term.”

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