Mike Craig had a solid junior career with the OHL's Oshawa Generals and he also represented Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships. The Minnesota North Stars felt they were getting a steal in 1989 when they made Craig the 28th selection in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft.
Craig was always a gifted scorer as a youth and secured a full-time roster spot with the Generals as a 16-year-old. In his draft year, he had 36 goals and 36 assists for 72 points. His rugged style of play was also deemed a positive for the fast and rough NHL. In 1989-90, Craig averaged nearly a goal a game in junior, while suiting up for just 43 games. He finished with 36 goals and 76 points. Craig, along with 16-year-old phenom Eric Lindros, led the Generals to a Memorial Cup championship that spring in Hamilton.
In his NHL rookie season Crag appeared in 39 games for the North Stars, scoring eight goals and 12 points. He was also a solid playoff contributor as the Stars advanced to the Stanley Cup finals before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The following two seasons produced 15-goal seasons, which was slightly lower than the expectations of the North Stars' hierarchy. In 1993-94, Craig moved with the franchise to Dallas, where they were renamed the Stars. Once again, he had a disappointing offensive season, scoring just 13 goals. For the third year in succession, though, Craig had well over 100 minutes in penalties.
At 23, Craig signed a four-year, $2.3 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were convinced he had more offensive potential than he'd shown with the Stars' organization. Craig also made no attempt to disguise the fact that he blamed Stars coach Bob Gainey for stalling his development as a pro.
Those early predictions of greater success with Toronto turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking. In fact, Craig failed to crack the ten-goal barrier during his three years in Toronto. Although he was liked by his teammates, Craig was cut loose by the Maple Leafs when they acquired the likes of Mike Johnson and Jason Podollan from Florida in a deal which sent Kirk Muller to the Sunshine state.
After a year toiling in the minors, Craig made an attempt at a comeback with the San Jose Sharks in 1998-99, but the experiment lasted all of one game. He continues to play in the minors with the Cleveland Barons of the AHL.