Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton had high praise for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, but also pointed out how the team that eliminated Carolina in five games in the second round of the playoffs used the cap rules to their advantage.

"We lost to a team that's $18 million over the cap or whatever they are," Hamilton said during exit interviews with the media. "I feel like we played them pretty close."

Hamilton made it clear he wasn't criticizing the league's rules or the Lightning specifically, but added that the situation made him wonder what the Hurricanes could do with extra money to spend on salary.