(Born on January 28, 1957) -- The career of Mark Napier didn’t quite turn out the way we thought it might. However, it was a long and successful one by most standards.
Napier looked like he had a chance to be one of the best players in hockey when he was a junior. He was so good that he jumped to the World Hockey Association with two years of eligibility remaining. For Toronto he was rookie of the year in 1975-76, and followed that with a 60-goal season.
The Canadiens drafted him in the first round in 1977, and lured him to Montreal. He eventually led the team in goals in three different seasons. Napier was traded to Minnesota for Bobby Smith, and lost his scoring touch somewhere along the way. In 1985, he was sent to Edmonton in a deal involving ex-Sabre Terry Martin.
In March of 1987, Napier made his last NHL stop - in Buffalo. He came here in a trade for Norm Lacombe. He played a little more than two seasons here, and was a smart two-way player who was a respected veteran on the team.
Napier crossed the ocean to play in Italy in 1989-90, and showed he still had a scoring touch. He scored 154 points in 42 games in his first season there.
--- Budd Bailey