Hiring is difficult. Some candidates bring experience. They have a track record with which you can predict how he or she might do: wins/losses, success in the draft, relationships with players and coaches, etc. So, what does a committee do with an unknown quantity?
That is exactly where the Chicago Blackhawks find themselves with a candidate like Eric Tulsky. He simply has no General Manager experience. He doesn't have a track record that falls squarely on his shoulders. So what does he have?
He has pedigree. He has a history of promotion that shows he is doing his job and making those above him look good. Tulsky started with hockey in 2011 as one of the premier analytics guys. At the time, he was working statistics for broadstreethockey.com. He went on to launch his own site Outnumbered. He was revered as an analytics and statistical expert.
In 2013, he joined the Carolina Hurricanes. He used his data driven approach as the vice president of hockey management and strategy. He was successful enough in this role that he was promoted to assistant general manager in 2020. In that role, he is involved in all hockey decisions and runs the hockey information department.
To assess his productivity, look at how the team has performed during those years. (of course, not all credit goes to him, but if he is the analytics guy and is involved in all decisions, some credit must go to him) The Hurricanes have a history of not making the playoffs. Since 2000, they haven't made the playoffs 13 times. During the first few years of Tulsky's tenure, they didn't make the playoffs either. However, they continually built the team and did make the playoffs the last two seasons. In 2019-2020, they lost in the first round. In 2020-2021, they lost in the second round. This year, they are currently in first place in the Metro and looking to be even better.
To build this team, the Hurricanes built around some key players in the draft. Again, not to say that Tulsky made all of these decisions, but he had to have played a role. In 2015, the Canes drafted Sebastian Aho in the second round. A true sleeper pick akin to the Blackhawks selection of Alex DeBrincat. In 2017, the Hurricanes selected Martin Necas. In 2018, with the first round pick, Carolina drafted Andrei Svechnikov.
Around those solid picks, the Carolina Hurricanes traded for some excellent pieces to fill in the gaps. Two of the best pickups were Teuvo Teravainen in 2016 and Vincent Trocheck in 2020. This season, those two account for 62 points between them. In 2018, Nino Neiderreiter joined the Canes in exchange for Victor Rask. The Canes took a chance in the offseason with the controversial Tony DeAngelo. They signed him to a one year deal, and he is now their third leading scorer with 33 points. They also added Jesper Kotkaniemi after Montreal wouldn't match the offer sheet by the Hurricanes. Finally, to complete this package, the Canes signed Frederik Andersen to a two year deal solidifying the goalie positions.
All put together, the Carolina Hurricanes have made some great moves in the draft and through trades and signings to build a team that can compete for the cup. Eric Tulsky played a role in that build and apparently was noticed by the organization as he was promoted to his current role. His skill set with analytics and running the hockey information department is a perfect fit for the Chicago Blackhawks.
As the fans have become aware over the past few years, strategy, analytics, decision making and transparent information have not been strong suits for the Blackhawks. All of these things are in the wheelhouse of Eric Tulsky. These are all roles he has played for a well-run organization. He just might be the right guy to bring the Hawks back to contention.