RALEIGH, NC (July 31, 2000) – Jim Rutherford, CEO and General Manager of the National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes, announced today the team has agreed to terms on a contract with five-time All-Star defenseman Kevin Hatcher. As per club policy, no other terms were released.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the signing of Kevin Hatcher,” said Rutherford. “He has proven over his career to be a steady, physical defenseman who can contribute offensively. With the addition of Ozolinsh and Hatcher and the development of some of our younger defensemen, we have now assembled a defensive corps that has the ability to skate and pass the puck better than we have had in recent year. This improvement in puckhandling and passing skills among our defensemen will allow our team to take a more offensive approach as we move the puck forward from our defensive zone.”
Hatcher, 33, completed his 16th NHL season last year, posting 23 points (4g, 19a) in 74 games for the New York Rangers. Hatcher (6’3’’, 230 lbs.) has played in 1,100 NHL games, totaling 659 points (223g, 436a) and 1,354 penalty minutes for the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, and New York Rangers. Hatcher has averaged nearly 44 points and 15 goals per season in his 15 full seasons in the NHL, topping the 15-goal mark seven times during his career. He has averaged over 73 games played a season throughout his career.
Hatcher, a product of Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos’ Compuware Hockey System in Michigan, has played in five All-Star games (1990, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997) with two different teams and represented the United States at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, notching two assists. Hatcher also represented the United States at the 1984 World Junior Championships and the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups, and he was a member of the World Cup Champion Team USA at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
Hatcher, whose younger brother Derian is the captain of the Dallas Stars, went straight from junior hockey to the NHL. He is one of a select group of NHL players to never appear in a minor league game. Originally drafted by the Washington Capitals, Hatcher was recalled to the Capitals on April 6, 1985, tallying his first NHL goal in his second game as an 18-year-old. During the 1989-90 season, he topped the 50-point mark for the first time and appeared in his first All-Star Game, representing the Capitals. The following season, 1990-91, Hatcher established his career high for assists with 50, totaling 74 points in 79 games with Washington. In 1992-93, he became just the seventh defenseman in league history to net 30 goals in a single season and also established a career high in points with 79. Only three defensemen -- Bobby Orr, Doug Wilson and Paul Coffey -- have scored more than his 34 goals in a single season. Hatcher has led his team’s defensemen in points 11 times during his NHL career, most recently when he led the Pittsburgh Penguins’ defensemen with 38 points (11g, 27a) during the 1998-99 season.