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Could Jason Karmanos Be On Hurricanes’ GM Radar?

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Jason Karmanos Buffalo Sabres Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes announced Friday that President and General Manager Don Waddell is stepping down from his position with the team. Eric Tulsky is named interim general manager, while Waddell will reportedly pursue other job opportunities. According to the team, the Hurricanes are searching for a permanent GM, and one can’t help but wonder if Buffalo Sabres Associate General Manager Jason Karmanos is a candidate for the role.

The search will start with Tulsky, who joined the Hurricanes organization 10 years ago as an analyst. He has risen through the ranks, becoming the team’s Director of Analytics in 2017-2018 and named Assistant General Manager in 2020-2021. Tulsky is the frontrunner for the permanent job, as his tenure with and contributions to Carolina are deeply rooted.

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Potential Candidates

On “The Jeff Marek Show” Friday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated a few other names in the running for the job. Marc Bergevin and former Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill are among those he mentioned. These two have been popular interviewees as similar positions have opened up.

Friedman did not mention Karmanos, who interviewed in Pittsburgh recently for the general manager position eventually awarded to Kyle Dubas. Karmanos spent 14 seasons from 1998 to 2013 as the Hurricanes’ Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager.

His father, Peter, was the franchise’s owner and chief executive officer from 1994 in Hartford until he sold his majority stake to Tom Dundon in January 2018. Peter fired his son in 2013 citing a “family matter”.

In an interview with the Raleigh News & Observer, Jason Karmanos clarified:

“The disagreement I had with my father had nothing to do with the direction of the team or the business of the team. This has nothing to do with my job performance.”

“It’s an unfortunate situation and it’s extremely disappointing.”

A New Karmanos

Since then, the younger Karmanos has been able to silence any accusations of nepotism. He was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager from 2014 to 2020. In that time, he helped them win two Stanley Cups. The Sabres hired Karmanos in his current role in April 2021.

Can the Hurricanes and Karmanos move past the family drama and create a healthy and successful work environment?

With Dundon running the ship now, it’s possible. If the organization is serious about bringing in someone above Tulsky, it may as well be the one person he’s worked most closely for in the past.

Karmanos was responsible for bringing in Tulsky, a hockey analytics blogger turned part-time team contributor, in the first place. His trust and belief in Tulsky and building through numbers have led to the growth of analytics departments throughout the entire NHL.

Karmanos mirrored the effect by bringing Sam Ventura to Pittsburgh. Ventura has followed Karmanos to Buffalo and is now the Sabres’ Vice President of Hockey Strategy and Research.

For a seamless transition, there’s no doubt that Karmanos is the best fit. That is if the Hurricanes want to bring someone in above Tulsky.

Family disputes and broken bridges can both be tricky to mend. It shouldn’t be surprising if Karmanos is bypassed on a chance to interview with the Hurricanes. If he is approached though, there are seeds already in place that could give him an edge for the position.