Mike Johnson was a highly-coveted free agent collegian at Bowling Green State University that chose to sign with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs on March 16, 1997. He made his NHL debut on the same day and recorded an assist at Tampa Bay.
The Scarborough, Ontario native was a key contributor to the Leafs during his rookie season of 1997-98. He finished first on the team in games (82-tied), second in points (47), and assists (32). Among NHL rookies, he ranked first in points (tie), assists, and fourth in goals (15). For his efforts, the right-winger earned a spot on the NHL's 1997-98 All-Rookie Team and he was named the league's Rookie of the Month for December and runner-up for January. He garnered a significant number of Calder Trophy (NHL Rookie of the Year) votes in a freshman class that also included Sergei Samsonov and Patrik Elias.
In his second full season with the Leafs in 1998-99, Johnson recorded 20 goals, appeared in 17 games over three playoff rounds, played in the final game at Maple Leaf Gardens and the opening game of Air Canada Centre a week later.
Johnson later joined the Lightning on February 9, 2000 in a trade that saw the Leafs secure a needed 'energy' centremen for another playoff push, Darcy Tucker.
In 661 NHL games, Johnson recorded 129 goals, 246 assists and 375 points with the Leafs, Lightning, Coyotes, Canadiens and Blues.