If the career of right winger Sergei Makarov was measured solely by his NHL accomplishments, he would have been a strong candidate for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. But when paired with his outstanding career in the Soviet Union, Makarov was an easy choice for election to the Hall of Fame.
Born on June 1, 1958 in Chelyabinsk, USSR, Makarov first gained prominence by starring for his country when they won gold at the 1977 and 1978 World Junior Championships. Over the next several years, he helped the USSR defeat the NHL All-Stars in the 1979 Challenge Cup and humiliate the host nation to win the 1981 Canada Cup. The skilled winger also participated in 11 World Championships, capturing gold eight times, the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cups, three Olympic tournaments where he twice took home the gold medal, four NHL tours by the Red Army and the 1987 Rendez-vous series against the NHL All-Stars. During this time, he was often teamed with Vladimir Krutov and Igor Larionov on the feared 'KLM Line,' arguably the world's best unit at that time. Sergei won the Izvestia Trophy nine times as the top scorer in the Soviet league.
Originally drafted 241st overall by the Calgary Flames in 1983, Makarov was one of the first Soviet stars to join the NHL when he made his debut in 1989-90. Oddly enough, his first duty with his new club took place in the USSR during the Friendship Tour which saw the Flames play several Soviet clubs as part of their exhibition season. When the NHL season began, the veteran sniper had little difficulty adjusting. He recorded 86 points (24 goals and 62 assists) and was presented with the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie.
Makarov continued to produce points with the Flames for three more years before he joined the Hartford Whalers in a trade in June 1993. But a few days later, he was sent to the San Jose Sharks where he was reunited with Igor Larionov to start the 1993-94 season. The two veterans teamed with Johan Garpenlov on the 'OV Line' and helped the Sharks come within one game of the semi-finals. Makarov and the Sharks slipped somewhat in 1994-95 after the lockout was resolved. He sat out the 1995-96 season then signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars, but played just four games in 1996-97 before joining Fribourg Gotteron of the Swiss League to complete the season.
Sergei Makarov scored 134 goals and 250 assists for 384 points in 424 regular season NHL games, and added 12 goals and 11 assists in 34 playoff games. In 519 games in the Soviet Championship League he recorded 322 goals, 388 assists for 710 points. In 2001, Sergei was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.