Canada Cup '87 team vs World Championships '87 team (USA)
Here are the American rosters from the Canada Cup '87 and the World Championships '87 (in Austria). I made a similar thread with Canadian rosters as well. Just a funny idea I had, what if all players are in their prime and not their '87 status, how would a best-of-7 series between the two teams end? The World Championship team had a few players playing for college teams that would eventually end up as pretty good players in the NHL, such as Brian Leetch, Mike Richter, Kevin Stevens and Tony Granato. But think of them in their prime, not as the college players they were back in '87. Personally I think this would be more even than the Canada matchups, with the Canada Cup roster winning 4-2 or possibly 4-3.
1987 Canada Cup Roster
1987 World Championships Roster
Hmmm, let's see how the 2 squads compare statistically and what they did in their respective tournaments:
USA 1987 Canada Cup squad didn't qualify for the 4-team medal round out of 6 nations, finishing with a record of 2 wins and 3 losses, scoring only 13 goals and allowing 14 against. USA opened the tourney defeating Finland 4-1 and then beating Sweden 5-2, but lost their last 3 games (3-2 loss to Canada, 5-1 loss to USSR and 3-1 loss to Czechoslovakia). This team just did not produce much offence but played exceptionally well defensively. Coach was "Badger" Bob Johnson from the Calgary Flames.
John Vanbiesbrouck....4 gp (240 min.), 9 GA, 2.25 GAA, 92.24 sv%, (2 w-2 losses)
Tom Barrasso............1 gp ( 60 min.), 5 GA, 5.00 GAA, 81.48 sv%) (0w-1 loss)
Bob Mason................0 gp
Totals......................5 gp (300 min.), 14 GA, 2.80 GAA, 90.21 sv%
USA 1987 World Championship team didn't fare so well in Vienna, placing 7th out of 8 nations finishing just above Switzerland for relegation. The '87 USA squad won only 2 games and lost 5 in the preliminary round, scoring just 21 goals and allowing 36. They opened against Canada and lost 3-1, then were beaten by Sweden 6-2, bombed by the USSR 11-2, lost to Finland 5-2, they defeated West Germany 6-4 and followed that with a 6-3 win over Switzerland, and finished with a 4-2 loss to Czechoslovakia. In the relegation round, the US placed 3rd out of 4 teams, winning 2 out of the 3 games (6-3 win over West Germany and 7-4 victory over Switzerland, with a 6-4 loss to Finland). So in 10 total games, the US had a record of 4 wins and 6 losses, 36 GF and 49 GA for a goal differential of minus-13.
Not exactly sterling numbers and a deservedly earned 7th place, but this was also a very young group of college players except for a couple of veterans (including future coach Ron Wilson). This WC was used by the US team as an experience training ground for the upcoming Olympics. Six of these players would also be on the '87 Canada Cup team and many would go on to play for the '88 Olympic team. This team was coached by the bombastic Dave Peterson of U.S. Olympic team notoriety.
Individual stats 1987 USA World Championship team:
Aaron Broten (New Jersey Devils)..........10 gp, 5+6=11 pts, 6 pim
Brian Leetch (Boston College)...............10 gp, 4+5=9 pts, 4 pim
Mark Johnson (New Jersey Devils).........10 gp, 3+6=9 pts, 8 pim
Bryan Erickson (L.A. Kings)...................10 gp, 4+4=8 pts, 8 pim
Ed Olczyk (Chicago Blackhawks)............10 gp, 4+3=7 pts, 10 pim
Brian Lawton (Minnesota North Stars)......8 gp, 3+3=6 pts, 14 pim
Jimmy Carson (Los Angeles Kings)..........10 gp, 2+3=5 pts, 4 pim
Tony Granato (Univ. of Wisconsin)...........9 gp, 2+3=5 pts, 12 pim
Tom Kurvers (Buffalo Sabres)................10 gp, 3+1=4 pts, 11 pim
Bob Carpenter (Los Angeles Kings)..........10 gp, 2+2=4 pts, 8 pim
Ron Wilson (Minnesota North Stars).........10 gp, 1+3=4 pts, 12 pim
Bob Brooke (Minnesota North Stars)........10 gp, 2+1=3 pts, 10 pim
Clark Donatelli (Boston University)............9 gp, 1+2+3 pts, 6 pim
Kevin Stevens (Boston College)...............8 gp, 1+1=2 pts, 10 pim
Craig Janney (Boston College).................10 gp, 1+0=1 pts, 0 pim
Scott Young (Boston University)...............4 gp, 0+1=1 pts, 2 pim
Gord Roberts (Minnesota North Stars).......10 gp, 0+1=1 pts, 33 pim
Jim Johnson (Pittsburgh Penguins)............10 gp, 0+0=0 pts, 28 pim
Craig Wolanin (New Jersey Devils)..............9 gp, 0+0=0 pts, 32 pim
Lane MacDonald (Harvard University)..........2 gp, 0+0=0 pts, 0 pim
John Vanbiesbrouck (NY Rangers)..7 GP (419 min.), 28 GA, 4.01 GAA, 84.95 sv%
Mike Richter (Univ. of Wisconsin)...2 GP ( 80 min.), 8 GA, 6.00 GAA, 88.41 sv%
Chris Terreri (New Jersey Devils)...2 GP (100 min.), 12 GA, 7.20 GAA, 72.73 sv%
In conclusion, I think you would have to give the slight edge to the '87 U.S. Canada Cup team. Better coaching, more experienced defence. But both teams need more firepower.