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Brind'Amour: Hurricanes' offseason departures 'hard to watch'

Ben Jackson / National Hockey League / Getty

The Carolina Hurricanes lost several key players to unrestricted free agency this offseason, including both members of their shutdown defense pair of Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce, prized trade deadline pickup Jake Guentzel, longtime winger Teuvo Teravainen, and depth forward Stefan Noesen.

Head coach Rod Brind'Amour admitted the process hasn't been easy.

"You get attached to the guys, especially when we've had them (for a long time)," Brind'Amour said Wednesday. "It was hard, I'll be honest. It was hard to watch guys walk out of here. I understand it. It's a business. They've got to do what they've got to do. But it's also exciting because you get a whole new group of guys coming in, and maybe some of these young guys will crack the lineup and you get to watch them grow. It's just the evolution of it."

The Hurricanes were able to retain a pair of notable UFAs in Jordan Martinook and Jalen Chatfield, though. They also signed Jaccob Slavin to an eight-year extension.

But to further the offseason of change, Brind'Amour has a new boss. Don Waddell, Carolina's former president and general manager, resigned from his post this offseason and joined the Columbus Blue Jackets. Eric Tulsky replaced Waddell as the club's GM.

There also rumors of a Martin Necas trade, though nothing has materialized yet.

The Hurricanes haven't made any major offseason splashes, but they added Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Walker to help replace Skjei and Pesce on defense, and they brought in Jack Roslovic, William Carrier, Eric Robinson, and Tyson Jost to fill some voids up front.

"There's a learning curve on any team," Brind'Amour said. "There is familiarity with 'Ghost.' With Walker coming in, he's excited to play the way we play. Most players like the way we play, and they want to do it. We are up-tempo, and it's a fun way to play. At the end of the day, these guys are good hockey players. If they have a willingness to get it, they will get it."

Carolina has about $11.6 million left in projected cap space, but it still has multiple unsigned restricted free agents, including Necas, Seth Jarvis, and Jack Drury.

Brind'Amour is set to enter his seventh season as the Hurricanes' head coach. The Canes have made the playoffs every year under his watch, and Brind'Amour won the Jack Adams Award in 2021.

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