Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton is not too upset about Carolina’s exit from the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs — particularly contemplating that his crew misplaced to a Lightning squad that may be a whopping $17.5 million over the wage cap.
In his postseason exit interview, Hamilton introduced up the extreme invoice that Tampa Bay is carrying this postseason when discussing how Carolina performed in opposition to them.
“We had an awesome season. We misplaced to a crew that is $18 million over the cap or no matter they’re,” Hamilton mentioned, per The Athletic. “I really feel like we performed them fairly shut.”
In fact, Hamilton needed to ensure everybody knew that he wasn’t taking a dig on the Lightning for the technique they employed to drag this off.
“I wasn’t knocking the principles or something. You notice what number of weapons they’ve, and if you concentrate on what number of extra gamers you would have with the cash, you notice how a lot deeper you’d be,” Hamilton mentioned. “That’s simply the way it labored out. I do know it’s occurred with groups previously, I don’t have an issue with it. You simply notice how good that crew was.”
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Certainly, the Lightning are good, and that is in no small half because of how they had been in a position to exploit NHL wage cap guidelines throughout the season.
As a result of Nikita Kucherov was on the long-term injured reserve for the whole common season, his $9.5 million wage did not depend in the direction of Tampa Bay’s wage cap. As such, they had been in a position to make strikes on the commerce deadline so as to add expertise they in any other case would not have been in a position to if Kucherov had been activated.
And for the reason that wage cap is not enforced throughout the playoffs, the Lightning had been in a position to activate Kucherov forward of their first-round matchup with the Panthers with out making any roster strikes or receiving any type of penalty.
Might Kucherov have truly wanted the whole common season to get well, because the Lightning insist? Possibly. However he was able to play straight away in Tampa Bay’s first playoff sport, scoring twice, so it is also doable that he may’ve returned sooner if the Lightning had the cap house to activate him throughout the common season.
On the finish of the day, we’ll by no means know if Kucherov may’ve returned earlier than the playoffs started.
However the Lightning took benefit of the state of affairs and that is why they’re shaping up as a robust contender to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.