Looking back on the 1990-1996 era, it's pretty remarkable to look at how teams were so willing to just dump big time established star talent on a whim. Obviously the league expanded from 21 to 26 teams during this period, and the skyrocketing salary landscape of the league made it financially difficult for a lot of teams to hold onto their star players, but there must have been other reasons why GMs were so willing to roll the dice on blockbuster deals.
During this time, the following players were moved at least once:
GMs look like they were trading hockey cards back then, or it would be easy to replace whatever departed star easily. Would this quantity of quality moving even be possible over the course of a full decade today in a salary cap system?
How many of them can we describe as Stars when they were traded?
And how many were "only" good players?
I guess the it can be broken down into a few categories.
The Edmonton, Calgary firesales involving Nieuwendyk, Gilmour, Messier, Anderson, Fuhr, MacInnis, Suter could be characterized mostly as stars dumped for rebuild packages. Less so Gilmour than the others. Francis for Cullen could probably be described as Hartford trying to get a young stud back. Mogilny to Vancouver was a firesale type move, as was Selanne to Anaheim. Tikkanen for Weight was a futures deal, so was Matteau and Noonan for Tony Amonte.
Then there were the battleship for battleship deals, Savard for Chelios, Turgeon for Lafontaine, Housley for Hawerchuk, maybe the Francis for Cullen deal could be described as battleship for future battleship. Sundin for Clark was definitely quality for quality, as was Oates for Janney, Coffey for Carson was probably intended as one, but obviously doesn't look so fair now. Same with Roenick for Zhamnov.