Sergei Makarov – 384 Points in 424 Games Played
Apr 19, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames fan waving flags during the third period between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks in game three of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Former Flame Sergei Makarov had a good, but unexceptional NHL career. He landed in North America form Russia in time for the 1989-90 season where he suited up with the Flames. Makarov scored 86 points in 80 games in that rookie season and won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best first year player. The interesting part about this win was that Makarov was 31 years old when he collected the award.
Makarov played just 424 career NHL games and scored 384 points in that span. Though these don’t look like Hall of Fame credentials, it’s what Makarov accomplished before even setting foot in an NHL rink that should have made him a Hall of Famer long ago.
Makarov was part of the famous KLM line, along with Igor Larionov and Vladimir Krutov, that played in International events with the Soviet Union. The feared trio led the Soviets to an Olympic gold medal in the 1984 games and repeated the feat in 1988.
The Chelyabinsk native incredibly led the Russian league in scoring every year in the decade of the 1980’s except for 1983 when he missed a third of the season with injury. He won the MVP for the league three times in that span and proved at International events when he played against NHL competition that he more than held his own against the best in the world.
In three Canada Cup tournaments held in the 1980’s, Makarov scored a total of 31 points in 22 games. Makarov led the Soviet Union to ten medals at the World Championships including seven gold, one silver and a bronze while scoring 131 points in 106 games in that span.
Makarov was basically the Russian Wayne Gretzky, absolutely dominating the second best league in the world, with only politics standing in the way of him competing in the NHL during his best years. He showed in the early 1990’s that he was capable of scoring over a point per game in his thirties, leaving us to wonder how many points he could have piled up in the high flying 1980’s when he was in his prime.
Makarov’s NHL totals are impressive, but not Hall of Fame worthy on their own. Fortunately it is the Hockey Hall of Fame and not the NHL Hall of Fame. Valeri Kharlamov, one of the most famous Russian players of all time was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005 having never played an NHL game. He was a star in the Soviet Union in the 1970’s, scoring 507 points in 436 career games in Russia’s top league.
Makarov’s 710 points in 519 games put him far ahead of Kharlamov’s pace, and his accolades between the NHL, Russian League and International tournaments such as the Canada Cup and World Championships show he was a truly elite hockey player who belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame.