After two seasons playing with Spartak Moscow in Russia, Danny Markov was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 9th round (223rd overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Recognized for his fearless approach to playing the game, Markov was willing to block shots, throw hits and play through injuries to help his team win. He would remain with Spartak Moscow for two more seasons beyond his draft year before moving to North America at the end of the 1996-97 season. He suited up for Toronto’s AHL affiliate, the St. John’s Maple Leafs, during their final 10 regular season games and 11 playoff games. While St. John’s was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, Markov had a successful transition to the North American game and tallied 14 points & 32 penalty minutes during his 21 game stint and would get the invite to suit up for Russia in the World Championships. Markov returned to St. John’s for the start of the 1997-98 season but his strong play was rewarded with a call-up to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the team’s final 25 games and he once again represented Russia at the World Championships. In 1998-99, Markov became a full-time member of the Toronto Maple Leafs and helped the team earn their first trip to the Conference Finals in five seasons, which included his infamous salute to Jaromir Jagr after the Leafs defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. Markov spent two more years with the Maple Leafs before he was involved in a four player trade with the Phoenix Coyotes that brought Robert Reichel & Travis Green to Toronto in the summer of 2001.
In his first season with the Coyotes, Markov established career highs in assists (30) and points (36) while also earning a bronze medal playing for Russia’s Olympic team in Salt Lake City. Markov spent the next season with the Coyotes before another off-season trade landed him with the Carolina Hurricanes prior to the 2003-04 season. The Hurricanes would struggle early on and Markov was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers midway through the season to help bolster their blue line depth. His strong play helped Philadelphia make a run to the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals where they were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions (Tampa Bay Lightning). After the Flyers were eliminated, Markov once again represented Russia at the World Championships and would remain in Russia during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. Markov returned to the NHL the following season, playing with the Nashville Predators, and represented his country at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino. That offseason, Markov was traded to the Detroit Red Wings and helped them on their run to the Eastern Conference Finals where they were also eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions (Anaheim Ducks). The following season, Markov left the NHL and returned to Russia to play with Dynamo Moscow. He played seven seasons in the KHL before retiring after the 2013-14 season. In total, Danny Markov played in 619 career NHL games (including playoffs) and produced 31 goals & 130 assists for 161 career points.