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2021 NHL free agency: Top takeaways from a $500 million first day

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Philipp Grubauer explains what convinced him to join the Kraken (2:03)

Philipp Grubauer shares what went into his decision to sign with the Kraken. (2:03)

For months, we heard about the NHL's pandemic economy, the flat salary cap and how difficult making deals had become. Then the 2021 free-agent market opened, and within 24 hours, teams had spent over a half-billion dollars.

Nature is healing. Second-pairing defensemen are getting $5 million against the cap again.

According to TSN, the NHL's 32 teams spent $576,725,000 on 128 contracts on Wednesday. That includes $60.9 million in the first nine minutes of free agency, which would make Jeff Bezos blush.

There were a lot of shocking moments, trends and teachable moments on the first day of the free-agent marketplace. Here are 10 takes from yours truly. (The usual column departments will return next week.)

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