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.

 

USHL Update – Des Moines Buccaneers

by Jason Shaner
on
The 2000-2001 season has been a roller coaster of ups and downs for one of the most storied franchises in the USHL. The Des Moines Buccaneers hoist a number of banners in the stadium that is called by many as the “Madhouse on Hickman”. Des Moines is coming off a 4th place finish last season after being the dominant team in the league the prior several years. Some Buccaneers fans may have considered last season a down year for the team. This season there was much concern about how the mighty Bucs would turn out. Several new faces took the ice and early on Des Moines struggled to get things going. It appeared they may take another step down in the league until some key transactions and top-notch goaltending has taken this team back to where they feel they belong. Currently Des Moines is 24-14-2 good for 50 points. That gets them 4th in the rough and tumble Western Division but good for 5th in the USHL overall in the playoff standings. The Buccaneers are chasing their archrival Omaha Lancers along with the Sioux Falls Stampede and league leading Lincoln Stars in the quest for home ice advantage. Currently the Buccaneers are one of the leagues hottest teams as they recently had a 7 game winning streak put together. That streak was capped off with road wins at League leading Lincoln and over 2nd place Sioux Falls.

On the offensive side Des Moines had a lot to replace. Losing scoring champion Peter Sejna last season along with rookie of the year Troy Riddle Des Moines had a lot of questions to answer. Des Moines definitely got the season off slo Read more»

NOJHA-BCJHL Showcase set

by Brad Coccimiglio
on
The site has been selected, the coaches have been named and the rosters
are set, now it’s game on for the NOJHA-BCJHL All-star game. The site
for the game will be the Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie, home of
the Soo Thunderbirds.

The game will feature some of the best talent from the two Jr. A
leagues. The players participating in the game include NCAA, OHL and
eligible players. You can be sure that there will be a tremendous number
of scouts in the audience for the game.

The NOJHA squad will be led by the coaches of the league’s top 2 teams
as Rayside Balfour Sabrecats coach Ken MacKenzie and Soo Thunderbirds
coach Jim Capy will lead the charge.

The NOJHA roster is dominated by members of the Sabrecats and
Thunderbirds. In goal will be Frank Novello of the Soo and Espanola
Screaming Eagles starter Josh Siembida.

The defensive corps will include Dave Csumrik, Jason Michelutti and
Eric Simmons of Rayside as well as Jeff Cochrane, Seth Vinocur and Josh
Chase of the Thunderbirds.

Representing the NOJHA at forward will be Chris Shamess and Matt Shank
of the Sudbury Northern Wolves;Sean Spencer of the Sturgeon Falls Lynx;
Fred Coccimiglio, David Borelli, Ryan Corcoran and Josh Thompson of the
Thunderbirds;as well as Nevin Patterson, Justin Carre, Matt Barnhardt,
Joey Belanger and Rico Dicarlantonio of Rayside Balfour.

The alternates for the team include netminder Joey Biasucci of the
Thunderbirds, defenceman Todd Rayne of the Sudbury Northern Wolves and
centre Eric Paquette of the Iroq Read more»

The Lewiston Rocket?

by Nicolas Gaudreau-Dupuis
on

After only one year of existence, the Montreal Rocket has accumulated a deficit of 800,000$; and the low attendance has put pressure on the owners to find alternatives. The Montreal Rocket is currently in negotiations that would allow them to move in the Molson Centre, something the president of the team, Mario Messier, has called a “last resort” change for the franchise.

Junior Hockey struggles in Montreal
The
Montreal Rocket is not the first QMJHL located in the Montreal area that is having difficulties with attendances and survival. Previous teams located in
Verdun, Laval or Longueil all had similar problems in the past, and none of
them has survived to this day. If the Montreal Rocket cannot redress the situation
in the Molson Centre, they could be forced to move to a new location. Since
the last QMJHL expansions have developped most available markets in the province
of Quebec and in the Maritimes, the franchise could go south of the boarder.

The Lewiston Rocket? Read more»

The Weekend Warrior

by Randy Nicholson
on

Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.

A new angle on the Lindros stalemate: Veteran hockey writer Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun (January 29th) offered an interesting solution to the Lindros deadlock this week … he hypothesized that the Maple Leafs might obtain Eric Lindros for as little as two first-round draft picks … this price would be based upon an offer sheet that starts relatively low but increases with the number of games played … the Leafs could put together a contract paying Lindros $1.4 million a year for three years … bonus clauses that would pay him $1 million for every 10 games and $600,000 at the end of the season would also be included … the total package represent a total of $10 million over a full season – but with only the base salary guaranteed … under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, this would be a legal contract … although a team is forbidden from starting at $10 million and working down, there is nothing that prevents starting at $1.4 million and working up … the attraction of this arrangement is that, because the guaranteed salary in the deal is relatively low, the compensation required is correspondingly small … at the $1.4M level, the Leafs would have to surrender only two first-round picks instead of the five usually needed to acquire a player of Lindros’ calibre … the catch, of course, is that the Flyers would have Read more»

Rangers Update: Ulmer, Malhotra and Kloucek Sent Down

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

Today the Rangers have announced that forwards Jeff Ulmer and Manny Malhotra, along with defenseman Tomas Kloucek have been re-assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL to get some playing time during the NHL All-Star break. It is expected that all three will be called up early next week.

Ulmer made his NHL debut last night and played on the 1st line with Mark Messier and Adam Graves. Ulmer impressed me a lot with his hard work and great speed. He definitely has the wheels to survive in the NHL. He has good vision on the ice and I can’t remember him making one mistake last night in the Rangers 4-2 win over Montreal. Malhotra has been little-used over the last week, being a healthy scratch in some games. He only got 1 minute and 22 seconds of ice time last night. He currently has 2 goals and 2 assists in 21 games this season.

Kloucek heads back to Hartford with 1 goal in 22 NHL games. I really like this kid and I can see him becoming a dominant force on our blueline for a long time. He’s an extremely strong player. Last night he leveled Montreal’s Eric Landry in center ice, causing Landry to miss the rest of the game. I’m not sure what the injury was, but I think I remember hearing Landry suffered a fractured nose. He was bleeding a lot on the bench after the hit. Kloucek has made a couple mistakes this season, but with more playing time he will improve. He has played with a lot of different defenseman, including a couple of games where he paired up with Brian Leetch. He has currently been playing with Kim Johnsson to form a solid pair. At only 20 years old, Read more»