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.

 

Jamie Lundmark Impresses Again

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

Jamie Lundmark had another excellent effort this afternoon, notching 2 assists in Canada’s 5-1 win over Sweden in the second of two exhibition games played between the two teams.

Lundmark has been centering a line with Dany Heatley, the 2nd overall pick in the 2000 draft, and Mike Cammalleri, who is eligible for the upcoming 2001 draft. The line has been using it’s great speed and great forecheck to win the loose puck battles and turn quickly to offense. Lundmark has played the role of set-up man, assisting on 5 of Canada’s 11 goals in the two games against Sweden. Not many people have heard of Cammalleri, who plays US College Hockey and therefore does not get the attention that Canadian Major Junior stars do. Scouts say Cammalleri should be available towards the late 1st/early 2nd round of the 2001 draft, and I would love it if the Rangers select him. However, so far his strong play have caught a lot of scout’s attention.

On another note, the goaltender for team Sweden happened to be Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers 7th round selection in the 2000 Entry Draft. Lundqvist has been given the tag “will be the best goalie to come out of Sweden”, but this season he has not been playing like it. In my opinion, he ranks 3rd as of now in Sweden behind Mikael Tellqvist (Toronto draftee) and other Rangers draftee Johan Asplund. As for the game, Lundqvist was shaky. He allowed 3 goals on Canada’s only 3 shots in the first period. He was not dominant, and hasn’t been at all this season. He started off the year with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, but when they signed Pat Read more»

USHL Update – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

by Jason Shaner
on
The 2000-2001 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are a much improved yet very similar team from last year. The RoughRiders, who are in their second year of existence after being moved from Mason City, Ia, have made a name for themselves in the USHL as being an aggressive, gritty team who always plays 110%. Last year Cedar Rapids was given the task of playing the first half of the season on the road where they did poorly. As the second half began they served notice that they were becoming a good hockey team. This year the RoughRiders got a “normal” schedule and after a rocky start are playing arguably some of the best hockey in the USHL right now. Cedar Rapids is tied for 2nd place with Waterloo in the Eastern Division. In their last 10 games they have had some impressive wins including two road wins at perennial power Des Moines and a home victory over the league favorite Lincoln Stars. Here is a breakdown on some of the individual leaders for the RoughRiders through the current Christmas break.

Offense - The RoughRiders are not well known for their offense but they do have a couple of stars. Darren Partch is the leader offensively and is one of the league leaders in the scoring. Partch has 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points and leads the team in scoring. Partch is the kind of player who is in the right place at the right time and can kill you with precision passing. Gerry Hickey returned to Cedar Rapids after a spectacular season last year. So far Hickey has 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points but he has an astonishing 120 penalty minutes. Tha Read more»

Vitali Yeremeyev Arrives On Broadway

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The Rangers announced today that goalie Mike Richter will be sidelined for the Rangers next 2 games (23rd vs. Nashville and 27th vs. Carolina) because of an undisclosed injury, and Vitali Yeremeyev has been recalled from Hartford. In my opinion, Richter is not injured at all, but just needs some rest. The Rangers were likely to rest him in their next 2 games anyway, but I guess they decided to bring up Yeremeyev to get a look at him over the next week or so.

Yeremeyev, a 25 year old Kazakhstanian goalie who was selected in the 11th round of the 1994 Draft, has played OUTSTANDING with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 11 games this season. Yeremeyev has posted a 1.65 GAA, .951 Save%, and 2 shutouts. The ironic thing is that this is from someone who started the season struggling with the ECHL Charlotte Checkers (Jason Labarbera is the starter there now), as he posted a 4.23 GAA in only 5 games.

Playing excellent is not anything new to Yeremeyev however. In his last 3 years in Russia, Yeremeyev posted superb numbers. He had a 1.23 GAA with 7 shutouts in 26 games in 99/00 with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Elite League. The two previous years before that he posted a 1.80 GAA in 19 games with CSKA Moscow of the Russian Tier 2 league, and a 1.16 GAA with Yaroslavl of the Elite league in 16 games. Yeremeyev got teared apart on the National stage though. He was the starter for team Kazakhstan in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He allowed 28 goals in 7 games, en route to a 5.76 GAA. Yeremeyev can’t be blamed for most of the goals however, as Kazakhstan is not known Read more»

Hockey’s Future Interview with Serge Payer

by Mark Fischel
on

Hockey’s Future Interview with Serge Payer

Nearing the halfway point of this NHL season, one of the surprises has been the abysmal start of the Florida Panthers. While there are many reasons for this poor outing so far, most notably a startling amount of injuries that have decimated the team and have never given the Panthers a full roster of healthy players.

Maybe one of the small benefits of a team stricken with this many injuries, is the chance for the unexpected. Having a player get called up to fill in sometimes gives the coaches, management, and most importantly, the fans the opportunity to see a player exceed all expectations and beat all the odds of making an impact in the NHL.

One of these players is Serge Payer. Signed as a free agent in late 1997, Serge was expected to spend time this year in the UHL, but an incredibly strong NHL pre-season turned the heads of Panther brass and Serge was sent to start his professional career in the AHL Louisville Panthers.

What is remarkable is the road that Serge took to get to this point in his early career in the NHL. Jennifer McCarthy of Hockey’s Future AHL report recently did a profile of Serge on her web-site http://www.pantherbytes.com/louisville.html
which is a highly recommended read, as well as a good source for Louisville Panther news.

Recently, I got the chance to sit down with Serge Payer on the day of the Colorado game, and it was apparent during the interview that Serge is in this “I still can’t believe” phase over the realization that he Read more»

IHL All-Star Team

by Parker Neale
on
The IHL’s best will converge on Chicago on January 15th to take on the defending Turner Cup Champion Chicago Wolves. The all-star roster was announced last week with a breakdown of three players from each of Grand Rapids, Manitoba, Cleveland and Orlando. Milwaukee and Detroit were able to submit two players apiece. And, Houston, Cincinnati, Utah and Kansas City round out the selections with one participant each.

In goal for the all-stars are Frederic Chabot of Houston, Mike Fountain of Grand Rapids and Johan Hedberg of Manitoba. Chabot has been solid for a Houston squad that has been quite inconsistent so far this season. Fountain has been the catalyst in the Griffins success and leads the league in GAA and wins. Hedberg has been dynamite for the Moose and amongst the league leaders in wins throughout the year.

Up front are Peter Bartos and Christian Matte of Cleveland, Mark Beaufait and Yves Sarault of Orlando, Martin Cibak and Nils Ekman of Detroit, Vadim Sharifijanov of Kansas City, Todd White of Grand Rapids, Brian Felsner of Cincinnati and John Purves of Utah. Bartos has been an offensive gem with the Lumberjacks and Minnesota during his call-ups while Matte has made a successful transition from the AHL to the IHL and leads the league in goals with 16. Beaufait gets the nod despite missing a fair amount of time with an injury due to his stellar offence in the early going. Yves Sarault has been consistent and earned a recent call-up to Atlanta. Cibak and Ekman are both young, talented aces for the Vipers and lead their attack. Sha Read more»