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NHL free agents fly off the board early on Day 1

The NHL free agent season started at noon ET and by 12:31 p.m. most of the top available players were gone and teams had committed almost $250 million to their contracts.

Within the first five minutes, Milan Lucic had a seven-year deal for $42 million with the Edmonton Oilers and Loui Eriksson agreed to terms with the Vancouver Canucks for six years and $36 million. The expectation for Lucic is that he will protect Connor McDavid, score 20-plus goals and mentor the young players on how to become champions. Eriksson will probably play with the Sedins.

“It might have been a unique season for free agency,” said Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill. “We had a few more high-end guys. Everyone knew who they were. Everyone targeted their players. The new interview period helps. It helps the teams separate the players and vice versa. It speeds up the process. That’s for sure.”

The interview period has been part of the process since 2013, but this year it seemed as if more decisions were reached by teams and players during the period that started last Saturday.

Other notable signings:…

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