2009-10: Andrey Makarov skated in 22 games for Lada Togliatti in Russia’s U22 MHL and represented Russia in the 2010 U17 World Hockey Challenge. Makarov had a 4.04 goals against and .874 save percentage for a Lada team that won just 11 of 54 games and was last in the West Conference. Makarov was 2-2 with 1 shutout and had a 3.50 goals against and .920 save percentage in four games for Russia at the WHC. He was selected by Atlant Mytishchi in the second round (25th overall of the 2010 KHL Draft and taken by Lewiston (QMJHL) in the first round (42nd overall) of the CHL Import Draft.
2010-11: Makarov appeared in 27 games for Lewiston as a back-up to over-age goalie Nicolas Champion in his first season in North America. He was 11-14 with 2 shutouts and had a 3.37 goals against and .890 save percentage. Lewiston finished second in the East Division and advanced to the playoff semifinals. Makarov appeared in three playoff games, stopping 51 of 57 shots, and was 0-1 with a 3.40 goals against and .895 save percentage. Makarov was not selected in the 2011 NHL Draft in his first year of eligibility.
2011-12: Makarov went from the QMJHL to the WHL; joining the Saskatoon Blades after Lewiston folded. He skated in 54 games for the Blades – missing time to play for Russia at the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship. Makarov was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after going 29-23 with 2 shutouts. He posted a 2.01 goals against and .913 save percentage. The Blades finished third in the East Division. In the Blades’ four-game playoff series with Medicine Hat he was 0-4, with one loss coming in overtime, and had a 4.10 goals against and .872 save percentage. Makarov was 1-1 appearing in three games for Russia with a 0.88 goals against and .979 save percentage. Andrei Vasilevski played most of the tournament but Makarov got the start in the gold medal game against Sweden. Makorov stopped 57 of 58 shots as Russia lost to Sweden, 1-0, in overtime. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked seventh amongst North American goalies in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Makarov signed a three-year entry level contract with the Sabres in September of 2012 before returning to Saskatoon for his second OHL season. He also skated for Russia in the 2013 World Junior Championship. Makarov played in 61 games for the Blades and was 37-17- 5 with 7 shutouts; posting a 2.62 goals against and .919 save percentage. Saskatoon finished first in the East Division but was swept by Medicine Hat in a first round playoff series. Makarov started all four games and had a 3.66 goals against and .897 save percentage. Saskatoon hosted the Memorial Cup, handing eventual champion Halifax its only loss. In four games Makarov was 1-3 with a 4.09 goals against and .889 save percentage. He played three games for Russia at the WJC and was 2-1 with a 2.99 goals against and .933 save percentage. Russia defeated Canada, 6-5 in overtime, in the bronze medal game.
2013-14: Makarov appeared in 15 AHL games, including five playoff games, with Buffalo affiliate Rochester and spent much of his first pro season with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. He was 7-3 in 10 regular season games with a 2.20 goals against and .927 save percentage for the Americans. Rochester was second in the North Division and lost to Chicago in a first-round playoff series. Makarov was 2-3 and had a 3.01 goals against and .907 save percentage in the series against the Wolves. He was 15-11-4 in 31 ECHL games and had a 2.79 goals against and .927 save percentage. Fort Wayne finished third in the North Division and reached the second round in the playoffs with former American International College goalie Ben Meisner in goal.
Despite being passed over in two drafts, Makarov was highly-regarded coming out of the WHL, playing more than 50 games in each of his two final seasons with the Saskatoon Blades. Despite being just 6’1, Makarov covers the lower part of the net as effectively as big goalies such as Ben Bishop by relying on his quickness and reflexes. He often performs well under pressure, and won the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the best goalie at the 2013 Memorial Cup. He has the potential to be a starting goalie in the NHL.
Makarov spent the 2014-15 season with the Rochester Americans, where he became the team’s starter by the second half of the season. Though his numbers were not outstanding, he had some very good games playing behind a thin team. When injuries hit the Sabres, he made his first career NHL start in April with a 33-save performance in a losing effort. Makarov will likely spend the entire season with the Amerks as their starting goalie, though he will have to watch his back with Swedish goalie Linus Ullmark right behind him. He will be the Sabres’ first option in case of injury but is a few years away from being an NHL regular.