But you can't factor just those two players. We lost a first round draft pick (and a high one at that!) in the trade. We basically got raped. We could have drafted Joe Sakic with that pick. And I'm pretty sure we'd have won the Cup possibly twice if that happened.
(Letting Larionov walk was another dumb move. I understand that Quinn didn't want to pay a player and the Russian Hockey Federation money, but here was a skilled centre who worked well with Bure, and got along well with him.)
Courtnall Sakic Linden/ Neely, Larionov, Bure = Cup
True enough, the pick is one of those 20/20 hindsight things which makes the deal really bad. I suspect I never would have handed it over
When a team does trade a 1st I suspect that their thinking is not, "Damn, that's going to be a top-5 pick" but rather, "So what, with the guy we're getting, at best that pick will be in the low 20's". I suspect that Toronto did not even for a moment think that Boston would get a lottery pick let alone the number two from last year.
I recall the Larionov situation was a bit different than what you have described. Sovietsport, as part of the agreement to let Larionov and others leave to play in the NHL, were receiving a portion of Larionov's salary. After his 3 year deal with the Canucks ended, Larionov chose to play in Switzerland, which broke the hold Sovietsport had on his services.
Quinn was willing to pay Sovietsport, directly, an amount over and above what the team was paying Larionov to keep him around. It was a matter of principle on the part of Larionov, (against Sovietsport) to leave Vancouver.
Following the Canucks since before Don Cherry played here.