After a stellar junior career with the Ottawa 67's in which Bobby Smith amassed 192 points in only 61 games for the 1977-78 season, he was selected first overall in the 1978 Amateur Draft by the Minnesota North Stars. He was named to the OHA's first all-star team, second all-star team twice, and the Memorial Cup all-star team for 1977. Smith also won the George Parsons Trophy as the Memorial Cup's most sportsmanlike player and was named the Canadian major junior player of the year award in 1978.
Smith made his NHL debut in the 1978-79 season and had an instant impact on the league, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best rookie. In only his third season in the league, he helped guide the North Stars to the Stanley Cup finals only to fall victim the New York Islanders' second of four straight championships.
He was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in 1983 and carried on where he left off, helping the Habs reach the Cup finals in 1985-86 where he watched a rookie, Patrick Roy, backstop the team to victory. This was Smith's first and only Cup.
After another trip back to the finals with the Habs in 1989, Smith was dealt back to Minnesota for the 1990-91 season where the team headed to the playoffs as a huge underdog. With Smith's veteran leadership and scoring touch, the North Stars faced Mario Lemieux's Pittsburgh Penguins for the Stanley Cup. The North Stars put up a great fight but eventually succumbed to the Pens in six games.
Smith played for two more seasons in the NHL before retiring as a player and moving up to become the general manager of the Phoenix Coyotes from 1997 to 2000.