As far as the #42 goes in Flames history it is synonymous with one player and one player only and that’s the Russian point producing machine Sergei Makarov.
By the time he reached the NHL in 1989-90, Makarov was already an international star, having played for the Soviet Union international teams (World Cup and Olympics) from 1978-1989. He was a talent like no other on the international stage and the Flames made the move to select him in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. There was only one minor detail standing in the way of him joining those powerhouse teams of the 80’s (imagine him on the 86 or 89 team?) and that was he was bound to play with the Soviet Union. Players weren’t allowed to leave Russia for the NHL until 1989, so Makarov missed playing on all those talented Flames teams. Who knows how many Cups the Flames could have won with him on board from 1983 on.
Sergei Makarov would make his NHL debut in 1989 and take the league by storm. He would play in 80 games a “rookie,” scoring 24 goals and piling up 62 assists. That phenomenal first season would land him on the All Rookie Team and make him the Calder Memorial Trophy winner for the season as the league’s best rookie. There was controversy though as Makarov was 32 at the time he won the award. After that season the NHL instituted the “Makarov Rule,” stating only players under the age of 26 could win the award. All that aside he was solid on the playoffs for the Flames as well. He would play in all six games, ending with six points for his efforts.
His next two campaigns with the Flames would be great as well, as he would meet or exceed the 70+ point barrier both times. He would score a career high 30 goals in 1990-91, nine of which were PPG (second best of his career) and in 1991-92 he would have his third straight season with 40 or more assists.
Even with a 57 point season in 1991-92, Makarov was on the move once it was over. He would leave for the San Jose Sharks, playing two seasons there before they would let him go and he would head to Russia to be an assistant coach during the World Cup. He would return briefly to the NHL for the 1996-97 season, playing in only four games for the Dallas Stars. He would finish off his playing career with HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the back half of the 97 season, playing only six games. Makarov would hang up his skates after those two comeback attempts.
Sergei Makarov’s NHL career was brief because it started so late in his life. By the the time he was Calgary bound he had already played in the Soviet Union for more than 10 years. It’s easy to imagine what kind of numbers he could have put up in the NHL had he been able to play from the time he was drafted. All in all he would play for four seasons with the Flames, playing in 297 games, scoring 94 goals and dishing out 198 assists over that time frame. He led the NHL in Shooting % during the 1990-91 season (32.3) and led all rookies in games played in 1989-90 with 80. While only playing 297 games with the Flames, he’s still the franchise leader in career Shooting % at 23.6.
In 2001 Sergei was inducted into the IIHF Hall Of Fame and in 2016 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame. Makarov is currently a player agent/liaison for Russian players looking to come and play in North America.
Other Players Having Worn #42 In Flames History
Guy Larose (1994), Ed Ward (1995-99), Micki DuPont (2002-03), Brett Sutter (2009-11), Mark Cundari (2013-14)
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