The post-lockout era of Flyers hockey was a rough patch in team history. Then-GM Bobby Clarke built a team meant for the size and grit of the 1990’s while the rest of the league was getting smaller and quicker, a bad dynamic that ultimately cost Clarke his job. The leadership group of Keith Primeau, Eric Desjardins Chris Therien were all playing their last season in the league, and their newest signing Peter Forsberg had less than two years left in his career. The mix of slow, aging vets and untested, albeit very talented, rookies was a recipe for disaster.
One of the many new faces that arrived in Philly for the 2005-06 season was defenseman Derian Hatcher. He was 14 years into his NHL career by the time he donned the orange and black.
Drafted eighth overall in 1990 by the Minnesota North Stars, he followed the team when they relocated to Dallas for the 1993-1994 season. He captained the Stars from 1995 to 2003, leading the team to a Stanley Cup in 1999, becoming the first American born to have that honor.
Hatcher signed a five-year deal with the Red Wings in 2003, but played just 15 games before tearing his ACL in the 2003-04 season. Thanks to the 2004-05 lockout, the big-spending Red Wings were forced to make some changes, and one of them was buying out Derian Hatcher. He signed a four-year deal with the Flyers in August of 2005.
Halfway through the 2005-06 season he was named interim captain of the Flyers when Keith Primeau’s career came to an end due to a concussion. He remained captain for the rest of the season, but was demoted back to an alternate in 2006-07 when Peter Forsberg was handed the “C”.
Early in his Flyers tenure, Hatcher fit in well. His intimidating 6’5, 245lb frame and physical style of hockey immediately made him a favorite amongst the Flyers’ faithful. He racked up four goals, 17 points and 93 penalty minutes in 77 games during the 2005-06 campaign.
During the 2006-07 season, for just the second time in his career, Hatcher managed to play a full 82-game schedule, but he also put up the worst statistical season of his career with just nine points. Hatcher’s ultimate downfall started during the 2007-08 season when he had two seperate stints on IR, first missing the entire month of November and later and later the last month of the season from March 15 on. He did return for the playoffs where he racked up a whopping 40 penalty minutes in just 15 games.
A knee injury, which ended up eventually turning into a knee replacement, kept him sidelined for the entire 2008-09 campaign. He returned to the Flyers as an assistant coach for the 2009 playoffs, which only lasted six games before the Penguins eliminated the Flyers. Hatcher formally announced his retirement during the offseason and took a job as a player development coach with the Flyers organization.
Hatcher, along with his brother Kevin, were inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
Today, Hatcher is a co-owner of the Sarnia Sting in the OHL, a business venture he joined David Legwand in purchasing in 2015. He served as head coach for six seasons before stepping down from the role in 2021.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)