Sports Dougie Hamilton reignites Lightning debate: Hurricanes 'lost to a team $18 million over the cap'
A Tiered List of Dougie Hamilton Sign-and-Trade Suitors
The Hurricanes have given their star defenseman permission to speak with other teams leading up to free agency. Who will join the feeding frenzy and make a play for Hamilton? © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Dougie Hamilton previously expressed interest in remaining a Carolina Hurricane. The Hurricanes previously expressed interest in retaining Hamilton. But the door for him to test the open market as a UFA was clearly nudged open when talks between Hamilton, agent J.P. Barry and the Hurricanes got shelved at the beginning of the season.
Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton isn't too upset about Carolina's exit from the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs — especially considering that his team lost to a Lightning squad that is a whopping $17.5 million over the salary cap.
In his postseason exit interview, Hamilton brought up the excessive bill that Tampa Bay is carrying this postseason when discussing how Carolina played against them.
"We had a great season. We lost to a team that's $18 million over the cap or whatever they are," Hamilton said, per. "I feel like we played them pretty close."
Of course, Hamilton wanted to make sure everyone knew that he wasn't taking a dig at the Lightning for the strategy they employed to pull this off.
NHL playoff bracket predictions, picks, odds & series breakdowns for 2021 Stanley Cup second round
Sporting News projects the entire NHL playoff bracket, including expert predictions for each second-round series and our pick to win the 2021 Stanley Cup.Seven teams have punched their ticket to the second round with not only a division crown on the line but also the aim of taking one step closer to finding out who will win the sports world's greatest trophy. The remaining teams are a who's who of NHL royalty. The Avalanche, Golden Knights, Hurricanes, Lightning and Bruins were all in the top 10 in 2021 with the Islanders just on the outside looking in.
"I wasn’t knocking the rules or anything. You realize how many weapons they have, and if you think about how many more players you could have with the money, you realize how much deeper you’d be," Hamilton said. "That’s just how it worked out. I know it’s happened with teams in the past, I don’t have a problem with it. You just realize how good that team was."
NHL MOCK DRAFT:
Indeed, the Lightning are good, and that's in no small part thanks to how they were able to exploit NHL salary cap rules during the season.
Because Nikita Kucherov was on the long-term injured reserve for the entire regular season, his $9.5 million salary. As such, they were able to make moves at the trade deadline to add talent they otherwise wouldn't have been able to if Kucherov had been activated.
Will the Flyers Pass on Dougie Hamilton?
Hamilton is one of the top names on the free agent market this year, with many contenders looking to get in on the star defender. The Flyers, though, might not be one of them. Lyle Richardson has more in today's rumor roundup.Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's report indicating the Carolina Hurricanes will allow Dougie Hamilton to speak with other clubs created a stir in the NHL rumor mill. Matt Larkin compiled a tiered list of potential sign-and-trade suitors for the 27-year-old defenseman, with the Philadelphia Flyers among the potential pursuers.
And since the salary cap isn't enforced during the playoffs, the Lightning were able to activate Kucherov ahead of their first-round matchup with the Panthers without making any roster moves or receiving any sort of penalty.
Could Kucherov have actually needed the entire regular season to recover, as the Lightning insist? Maybe. But he was ready to play right away in Tampa Bay's first playoff game, scoring twice, so it's also possible that he could've returned sooner if the Lightning had the cap space to activate him during the regular season.
At the end of the day, we'll never know if Kucherov could've returned before the playoffs began.
But the Lightning took advantage of the situation and that's why they're shaping up as a strong contender to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
An offseason checklist for the San Jose Sharks .
The offseason has arrived with roughly half of the league finished up after missing the playoffs and several more joining them following their first-round eliminations. It’s time to examine what those teams need to accomplish over the coming months. Next up is a look at San Jose. © Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports The Sharks were supposed to be a team that was set to contend. That was the idea behind the Erik Karlsson trade three years ago and while they did that in 2018-19, they missed the playoffs entirely a year ago and weren’t much better this season.