Detroit general manager Ken Holland announced Thursday that the Red Wings had signed free agent defenseman Derian Hatcher to a five-year deal. Following club policy, the financial terms were not announced but the contract is reportedly worth $6 million per season.
The former Dallas captain spent his entire carrer in the Stars organization. He was drafted in the first round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by Minnesota and followed the team to Dallas in 1993. He later led the Stars to claiming the Stanley Cup in 1999. Hatcher has scored 71 goals and added 223 assists in 827 career games. He has racked up 1380 penalty minutes. He has scored six goals and 21 assists in 27 playoff games, accumulating 35 penalty minutes.
A native of the Detroit area, Hatcher acknowledged he was excited to have the opportunity to play for his hometown team.
“I’m just ecstatic to be here,” he said. “It would be really special to win a Stanley Cup in the town I grew up in.”
“Obviously growing up, I was a Red Wing fan.”
Hatcher was a Norris Trophy finalist last season for best defenseman in the NHL. Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom claimed the award for the third consecutive year.
“He has such a tremendous presence as a defenseman,” Detroit associate coach Barry Smith said. “He competes at such a high level every game and is so hard to play against.
“We haven’t had a defenseman like that since … Vlady.”
Since the 1997 limo accident that ended the career of Vladimir Konstantinov, the Red Wings have been looking for a hard-hitting blueliner.
“I think it’s going to be a great addition to our team,” Lidstrom said. “That’s the kind of defenseman that we need that can play hard and tough like that.”
Detroit had been courting Hatcher since the NHL’s free agency period began on Tuesday. His signing was only the fourth major move made this summer, after the Philadelphia Flyers signed goaltender Jeff Hackett and the Colorado Avalanche agreed to terms with forwards Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya.