In his end-of-season media availability on Thursday, Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Dougie Hamilton took an apparent potshot at the team that eliminated his club on Tuesday night - the Tampa Bay Lightning - and their salary-cap management before almost immediately walking back the remark.

"We had a great season," Hamilton told reporters. "We lost to a team that's $18 million over the cap or whatever they are. They have an unbelievable goalie. I feel like we played them pretty close."

Hamilton's remark was in reference to the club's ability to become cap-compliant by placing star Nikita Kucherov and his $9.5 million annual salary on long-term injured reserve before his return to the club in time for the playoffs where the cap is no longer applicable.

The 27-year-old Toronto quickly made it clear that he didn't intend for his comments to be construed as a negative against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"If you think about how many players you could add to your team with that money, you realize how much deeper you would be," Hamilton said.

Money will be the focus of Hamilton's offseason because he just completed the final year of his six-year, $34.5 million deal and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Hamilton says there is nothing new to report on contract talks.

"Everyone knows I really enjoy it here," Hamilton said, "I have some really good friends, have met some really good people here."

In 55 games this past season, his ninth in the NHL, Hamilton recorded 10 goals and 32 assists over 22:43 of ice time a night.  He chipped in two goals and three assists in 11 playoff contests over 25:21 of ice time a game.