Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Mark Johnson
A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Mark Johnsonwas born to be a Badger. Under the guidance of his famous father, he enjoyed three outstanding years at the University of Wisconsin. He racked up 256 points over those years and was twice selected to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Star Team after leading the conference in goals. His relative lack of size caused many teams to avoid drafting him, but the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him 66th overall at the 1977 Amateur Draft with the hope that he would mature in college and gain valuable international experience wearing the colors of the United States.

He played well for the U.S. at the 1978 and 1979 World Championships before committing to the national team as it prepared for the Lake Placid Olympics. Then Johnson proved to be one of the top players during Team USA's Miracle on Ice gold medal win in 1980. He scored 11 points in seven matches and was a respected figure in the dressing room. His two biggest goals came in the 4-3 upset over the USSR that paved the way to the gold medal.

After the Games, Johnson joined the Penguins for the last 17 regular-season games and first round of the playoffs. His acquisition brought the team some badly needed headlines in a city where the sports pages were dominated by the Steelers in football and the Pirates in baseball. He played solidly and proved he could stand the pace of the NHL game. As a rookie in 1980-81, he scored 33 points on a weak Pittsburgh squad and then represented the U.S. at the World Championship in the spring and the Canada Cup in the fall. Halfway through the 1981-82 season, he was traded to Minnesota. Following the North Stars' early exit from the playoffs at the hands of Chicago, Johnson again represented his country at the World Championship.

His career took a turn for the better when he was sent to Hartford in a deal consummated at the NHL Entry Draft. The Whalers utilized his speed and offensive savvy in a way that allowed him to play his best hockey as a professional. He was often teamed with Sylvain Turgeon and Ray Neufeld and produced consecutive 30-goal seasons in 1982-83 and 1983-84. In 1984, after a 35 goal season, he was named the Whalers' most valuable player. As William Houston noted, "It took him a while to learn the little tricks needed to make a small man effective in the rough NHL when to drive for the net, when to be aggressive and when to back off to save energy."

Johnson enjoyed his best Canada Cup performance in 1984 with five points in six matches. He was also enjoying a fine year in 1984-85 when the Whalers sent him to St. Louis in a package deal to acquire netminder Mike Liut. Part of Johnson's trouble in Connecticut stemmed from some constructive criticism he voiced toward coach Jack Evans. The Blues in turn sent him to New Jersey a few months later, on the eve of the 1985-86 season.

Following a solid effort at the 1987 World Championship, he was signed by the HC Milano club of the Italian first division. He proved to be one of the top players in Europe in 1990-91 with 77 points in 36 games. Early the next year he was acquired by the Zell-am-Zee club in Austria. Johnson starred with 72 points in 33 games to end his pro career on a high note. A popular player wherever he went, Johnson totaled 508 NHL points. He was often deployed on both the power-play and the penalty-killing units and was always highly regarded for his on ice intelligence. And his performance at Lake Placid in 1980 made him one of the heroes of U.S. hockey to a whole generation of fans.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1975-76 Madison Memorial High High-WI 30 65 56 121
1975-76 United States Nat-Tm 11 5 6 11 0
1976-77 University of Wisconsin WCHA 43 36 44 80 16
1977-78 University of Wisconsin WCHA 42 48 38 86 24
1977-78 United States WEC-A 10 0 2 2 0
1978-79 University of Wisconsin WCHA 40 41 49 90 34
1978-79 United States WEC-A 2 0 0 0 0
1979-80 United States Nat-Tm 53 33 48 81 25
1979-80 United States Olympics 7 5 6 11 6
1979-80 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 17 3 5 8 4 -4 5 2 2 4 0
1980-81 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 73 10 23 33 50 +4 5 2 1 3 6
1980-81 United States WEC-A 5 0 2 2 2
1981-82 United States Can-Cup 6 1 3 4 2
1981-82 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 46 10 11 21 30 -14
1981-82 Minnesota North Stars NHL 10 2 2 4 10 -4 4 2 0 2 0
1981-82 United States WEC-A 7 1 1 2 6
1982-83 Hartford Whalers NHL 73 31 38 69 28 -5
1983-84 Hartford Whalers NHL 79 35 52 87 27 -14
1984-85 United States Can-Cup 6 2 3 5 0
1984-85 Hartford Whalers NHL 49 19 28 47 21 -24
1984-85 St. Louis Blues NHL 17 4 6 10 2 -2 3 0 1 1 0
1984-85 United States WEC-A 10 4 1 5 6
1985-86 New Jersey Devils NHL 80 21 41 62 16 -13
1985-86 United States WEC-A 10 5 3 8 10
1986-87 New Jersey Devils NHL 68 25 26 51 22 -21
1986-87 United States WEC-A 10 3 6 9 8
1987-88 United States Can-Cup 5 0 1 1 0
1987-88 New Jersey Devils NHL 54 14 19 33 14 -10 18 10 8 18 4
1988-89 New Jersey Devils NHL 40 13 25 38 24 -1
1989-90 New Jersey Devils NHL 63 16 29 45 12 -8 2 0 0 0 0
1989-90 United States WEC-A 9 2 3 5 2
1990-91 HC Milano Saima Italy 36 32 45 77 15 10 7 16 23 6
1991-92 HC Milano Saima Italy 2 1 3 4 0
1991-92 EK Zell am See Alpenliga 18 13 28 41 8
1991-92 EK Zell am See Austria 15 10 21 31 6
NHL Totals 669 203 305 508 260 37 16 12 28 10


WCHA Freshman of the Year (1977)
WCHA First All-Star Team (1978, 1979)
NCAA West First All-American Team (1978, 1979)
WCHA Most Valuable Player (1979) Lester Patrick Trophy (2011) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1984)
Traded to Minnesota by Pittsburgh for Minnesota's 2nd round choice (Tim Hrynewich) in 1982 Entry Draft, March 2, 1982. Traded to Hartford by Minnesota with Kent-Erik Andersson for Jordy Douglas and Hartford's 5th round choice (Jiri Poner) in 1984 Entry Draft, October 1, 1982. Traded to St. Louis by Hartford with Greg Millen for Mike Luit and Jorgen Petterson, February 21, 1985. Traded to New Jersey by St. Louis for Shawn Evans and New Jersey's 5th round choice (Michael Wolak) in 1986 Entry Draft, September 19, 1985. Played two games for the United States in a World Championship qualifying tournament in 1998-99 and had 0 goals, 0 assists and 0 penalty minutes.