We all knew it was coming, but Derian Hatcher has retired after 17 NHL seasons. Just a week after having reconstructive knee surgery, Hatcher has decided to end his career as a Flyer before he would've hit the free agent market on July 1.
After hobbling through the playoffs in 2008, Hatcher did not play one single game in the 2008/09 season.
He was the prototypical Flyers defenseman of old, but he became a Flyer following the NHL lockout in 2004. Because of the new rules that were implemented then that intended to speed up the game and create a more free-flowing offensive style of hockey in the league, Hatcher's big, brusing, physical style of defense was never fully appreciated in Philadelphia. He was often called "too slow" for the league's new style of play, but he did have certain qualities that were still important in today's NHL. He has Stanley Cup experience and captained the Flyers for a season, and his physical presence was still felt even as his health deteriorated during what would turn out to be his final season.
Hatcher joins the Philadelphia coaching staff as a player development coach, a job previously held by another former Flyer defenseman, Eric Desjardins. Desjardins is resigning to persue other interests. Hatcher will help to oversee the team's young players and will play a large role in running the club's rookie camp at the end of the summer.