This coming May is the 40th anniversary of the Atlanta Flames moving to Calgary. To commemorate this occasion, we’re counting down the Top 40 Calgary Flames in history.
Coming in at #25 is Sergei Makarov.
Makarov was already going to be a Hockey Hall of Famer before he even pulled on a Flames jersey in 1989. He had already won five World Championships as the M in the famed KLM line for the Soviet Union when the Flames took a flyer on him in the late, late rounds of the 1983 Draft.
He came over in 1989 at the spry age of 31 – with two Olympic golds and another two World Championships in his pocket – and stepped right into the Flames lineup. He only played four seasons with the club, but he was excellent for three of them and pretty good for the fourth.
A 31-year-old Makarov captured the Calder in 1989-90 as top rookie, beating out such luminaries as Mike Modano (19), Jeremy Roenick (20), Rod Brind’Amour (19) and Mark Recchi (21). Following the awards ceremony, the rules were modified to impose an age limitation because it seemed weird that a guy who was 10 years older than other rookies (and who had a Hall of Fame resume already) could be Rookie of the Year. The age restriction has become known as the Makarov Rule.
Makarov arrived as part of a wave of Soviet imports trying to prove they could hack it in the NHL. He more than just hacked it, serving as a potent offensive weapon for the Flames. (His impact is diminished somewhat by him being part of some pretty stacked teams at the time.)
But producing at judge a smidge below a point-per-game pace when most of your tenure was in the clutch-and-grab ’90s? That’s impressive, and it locks Makarov in at #25.
Arrival: Selected in the 12th round, 203rd overall, in the 1983 NHL Amateur Draft (X, 1983)
Departure: Traded to Hartford for 1993 fourth round pick (Jason Smith) (June 20, 1993)
Awards: 1990 Calder Trophy winner
Top 40 Calgary Flames: HM Martin Gelinas | #40 Brad Marsh | #39 Matt Stajan | #38 Jiri Hudler | #37 Dion Phaneuf | #36 Guy Chouinard | #35 Phil Housley | #34 Matthew Tkachuk | #33 Cory Stillman | #32 Curtis Glencross | #31 Jamie Macoun | #30 Carey Wilson | #29 Reggie Lemelin | #28 TJ Brodie | #27 Alex Tanguay | #26 Daymond Langkow