The Flyers announced yesterday that Derian Hatcher, one of their former captains, had officially retired and accepted a position as player-development coach.

Hatcher spent 17 seasons in the NHL as a defenseman and won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999. He signed with the Flyers in August 2005.

"Derian will spend valuable time with the young players throughout our organization, working on their on-ice game as well as helping these young players deal with the issues playing and/or preparing to play professional hockey," general manager Paul Holmgren said.

Hatcher called it "the perfect way to stay in the game and see if I like it. I will be watching the younger players and making sure everything runs smoothly for them. I will be involved with running the rookie camp this summer."

Hatcher, 37, who missed last season because of knee injuries, takes over the position from another former Flyers defenseman and captain, Eric Desjardins, who left to pursue other interests.

Desjardins was named player development coach last July.

Meanwhile, Holmgren said the club has some interest in former Flyer Robert Esche as their backup goalie. Esche is under contract in Russia.

- Sam Carchidi