Michael Neal

Hometown:

Whitby Ontario

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1989-04-03

Position:

LW

Eligible for draft:

2007

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2007

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

5th round (149th overall), 2007

Weight:

187 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • B

History

The younger brother of Stars prospect James Neal, Michael Neal possesses some of the same attributes as his older brother.

2006-07: He did not post great numbers in his second OHL season, scoring only four goals on his way to eight points in 52 games played. Part of the lack of production by Neal is a result of playing on a very talented and deep Belleville Bulls team.

2007-08: Missed the entire regular season with a knee injury.  Returned for the playoffs, but went pointless in seven games.

2008-09: Neal split time between the Belleville Bulls(OHL) and Sarnia Sting(OHL). He went pointless in 3 games with the Bulls, but scored 9 goals and added 12 assists in 63 games with Sarnia.

2009-10: Neal turned pro, splitting time with the Idaho Steelheads(ECHL) and Texas Stars(AHL). In 6 games with the Stars, Neal went pointless. In 57 games with Idaho, Neal scored 5 goals and added 10 assists.

2010-11: For the second straight season, Neal spent most of his time in the ECHL.  He tied his previous year’s total of 15 points in 2010-11.  He did notch his first career AHL point during his 16 games in the AHL – totaling three goals in all.  He was held scoreless in eight ECHL postseason games.

Talent Analysis

Neal is a physically imposing forward like his older brother, James.  His skating is above average for a player his size and he does his best work along the boards.  Plays a clean and fairly industrious game.  Craves physical play.  Has a tremendous off-ice work ethic and keeps himself in tiptop shape.  Doesn’t possess any sort of mesmerizing talent and is still very raw.  Lost a crucial year of development due to a knee injury that sidelined him for an entire season.  Will have to overcome a lot to be considered a legitimate NHL prospect.  Needs to find a niche and become exceptional at it in order to become a valuable asset to his team.

 

Future

Appears to be a fringe AHL player at this point and may spend another year in the ECHL while competing for AHL call-ups.

 

Top Czech Under-17 team players: Vojtech Polak

by Robert Neuhauser
on
It didn’t happen very often in the history of Czech hockey that a line would be so dominating
on the international junior stage like the Vojtech Polak-Petr Vrana-Ivo Kratena line. Young
guns of the late 80’s Jaromir Jagr, Bobby Holik and Robert Reichel also formed a great line
and the three 1985 born blue-chippers draw many comparisons to them when speaking about
their level of skill. The scorer of this line and the most offensive player is the right
winger Vojtech Polak, the current captain of the Czech Under-17 team.

Vojtech Polak had ‘hockey player’ written all over him since he was born. Just like many stars of the
past and future he was born in a hockey family. His dad, also of the name Vojtech Polak, is
a respected youth coach and the current coach of Karlovy Vary’s 5th grade team. Just as the
little Vojtech could walk, he also became his first pair of skates and his dad laced him the
tights up for the first time. So it came that already at the age of two years Vojtech Polak
took his first strides. He was born in the small city Ostrov nad Ohri, but lives his whole
life in the famous spa city Karlovy Vary and at the local rink he also learned how to keep
balance on his skates. The little kid was very talented, when he was four, Vojtech was already
a solid skater for his age, took the stick into his hands and touched the black piece of
rubber for the first time. His hockey career began very early, at the mere age of four Vojtech
Polak was admitted into the Karlovy Vary’s pre-novice cathegory and also played his first
game. From the very first gam Read more»

Ryder and Puurula surging

by Chris Boucher
on
Most NHL prospects go through ups and downs throughout their development. Therefore timing becomes an important factor in developing players. The key to success is to play well when the opportunity arises. Grab the bull by the horns, as the cliché goes. Michael Ryder and Joni Puurula are both solid examples of players playing well at the right time.

Puurula is a goaltender who plays for HPK in the Finnish SM-Liga. The Montréal Canadiens drafted him in the 8th round (243rd overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The native of Kokkola, Finland suffered from a virus through most of the 2001-02 season, appearing in his first SM-Liga regular season game on January 1st, 2002. He played 9 games from that point through to the end of the season; finishing with an 8-0-1 record, a 2.09 goals against average, and .912 save percentage.

Playing on a strong team with a veteran goalie in front of him, Puurula was expected to watch from the bench as starting goalie Mika Pietila carried the team through the playoffs. All that changed when Pietila went down with an injury. Puurula was thrust into his first SM-Liga playoff action, and looked like a seasoned veteran in the process. To date, he’s played in all 3 of the team’s playoff games. He has a 2-0 record, an incredible 0.80 GAA, and an impressive .964 save percentage; both his playoff save percentage and goals against average lead the league.

The 19-year old was named first star in the first playoff game he appeared in, and won the fair-play award in each of his other two appearances. If we look at the 5′ Read more»

Nashville Signs Pair From Michigan State

by Brian Roe
on

The Nashville Predators announced that the club has signed defenseman Andrew Hutchinson and winger Adam Hall from Michigan State University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Andrew Hutchinson, 22, was originally Nashville’s 4th round draft choice (54th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Hutchinson is a 6’2", 197 lb. defenseman from Illinois.

Adam Hall, 21, was the Predators’ 3rd round draft choice (52nd overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Hall is a 6’3", 206 lb. forward from Michigan.

Both Hutchinson and Hall will report to the Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators. Both players were seniors this season at Michigan State, who was recently eliminated from the Division I NCAA tournament.

 

 

 

 


The Leader of Traverse City

by Jessica Haskin
on

The Traverse City Enforcers are making a drive for the playoffs, and with their win on Sunday the 24th they are in the last playoff seed, three points ahead of the Downriver Bombers. What all teams needis a player to lead them into and through the playoffs. They need a player who is willing to lead by example and give everything he has to win. Do the Enforcers have such a player in their captain, Matt Barnhardt?

The 22-year-old Barnhardt, is on the small side for hockey standards at 5-foot-11, 175 lbs. He’s a full-blooded Mohawk Indian from the small town of Tyendinaga, an Indian reservation in Ontario where he grew up with his siblings.

“I’ve got a younger sister who’s in grade nine and I’ve got a older brother who’s twenty-six? I don’t know… I haven’t been home in five years. Just been moving around playing hockey, baseball, all sorts of stuff. Busy man.”

Yes, he is a busy man, besides playing Junior A hockey he holds a job.

“Yeah, I’m working at American Eagle. I did a year of college, graphic design. It was when I played last season for Rayside (Rayside Balfour Sabrecats of the NOJHA), they paid for my college so it’s something.”

College was the one thing he might have done different in his hockey career.

“I don’t know if I would have changed it but I think about it every now and then. I had two full scholarships for division 1 to go to Clarkson or St. Lawrence and I was picking between them. Then the OHL called me and said I was going to get drafted to Sudbury and where I grow up OHL is huge. I look Read more»

Denver Pioneers Season Review

by Christa Moore
on

At the end of last season the DU Pioneers immediately began to prepare for this season. The only thing they could not prepare for was the unknown and it was the unknown that ended a fantastic year. Having played only one team from the CCHA this year, (Bowling Green) it was difficult to gage how strong the Michigan Wolverines would be. Did their 27-10-5 record reflect that of an elite team or simply the best team in the CCHA? Was UM’s physical style of play capable of stopping DU’s speed? Would DU’s fantastic defense be able to match up with some of the NHL’s future stars? How could any building be louder then the Xcel Center, packed with 18,000 Gopher fans like they faced the weekend before? Would sitting out for over a week on a bye, while Michigan had just played the night before be a blessing or a curse? By beating 3 teams in the Hockey East conference earlier in the season, did this mean DU could also dominate the CCHA? Of coarse all these questions have now been answered. Here’s a look back at DU’s final game and an exciting season.

Saturday March 23, 2002 Last Saturday, the Pioneers faced the largest crowd to ever watch a college hockey game in the state of Minnesota. Since they were playing the Minnesota Golden Gophers, it was difficult to find any support for DU in the entire building with the exception of a few converted St Cloud fans. The most important part of this game was scoring the first goal to take the 18,000 plus vocal fans out of the game. Some how the Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, with less than 7000 fans seemed ju Read more»

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