While we await the return of hockey, we’ll continue our countdown of the most regrettable free-agent signings that former Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland made during his tenure in the Motor City.
Number three on the list was supposed to be a triumphant homecoming for a bruising defenseman that just simply didn’t work – Sterling Heights, Mich. native Derian Hatcher.
Hatcher had captained the Dallas Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup championship, and had established a reputation for being one of hockey’s most bruising blue liners.
Just three games into a five year contract signed in the summer of 2003, Hatcher tore his ACL and missed the next several months. He returned right on the cusp of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where his lumbering skating didn’t exactly mesh with the two teams from Nashville and Calgary Detroit would face – eventually falling to the latter in six games. His blown defensive assignment on Calgary’s Martin Gelinas in the deciding Game 6 didn’t exactly help things, either.
Hatcher was bought out of his contract following the 2005 NHL Lockout and eventually signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, where he spent the final years of his career.