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.

 

Just Passing Through!

by Larry Bradley
on

This is a new feature I have developed to profile some of the top performers who have made their way into Mississauga in the past week. When you visit the same arena on a regular basis you have only so many prospects available to watch. These guys may be great talents, but they usually don’t provide enough material for a weekly column. You must branch out with fresh ideas to keep the hobby interesting.

Sunday, January 21, 2001

The Sudbury Wolves came into town and played hungry right from the opening face off. Their huge defensive core set the tone with a bruising barrage of hits. It must have been contiguous, as Wolves forwards installed an aggressive fore check hitting everything in sight. They took a commanding 3-0 lead after one period and didn’t look back on their way to a 5-1 victory.

Here’s a look at some of the Wolves that made an impact in Sunday’s contest.

#13 Alexei Semenov

The Edmonton Oilers have a great future in this kid. Their second round (36th overall) pick from the 1999 NHL entry draft has the all the tools to play with the big boys. He is a definite presence, one of the best all-round defenceman I’ve seen this year. Semenov is a monster (6’6” and 210 pounds) who doesn’t give the opposition a lot of room to maneuver. Loves to play the body and with his long reach is impossible to elude. Clears the front of the net as well as anyone and does not back down from trouble. Deceptive speed with long, smooth strides. He is a great asset on the point in p Read more»

Tigers too tough to tame for the ICE

by Jeff Bromley
on
In what amounted to be a game of paramount importance for the Kootenay ICE if they have any hope of catching the WHL leading Red Deer Rebels and staving off the surging Calgary Hitmen, the ICE were looking for the automatic two points on Sunday night against the Medicine Hat Tigers. If parity throughout the WHL means anything, two points are never automatic, no matter who you’re playing. Playing against a team that up until Sunday night’s contest had only four wins on the road all season long, the ICE melted in front of the hometown crowd suffering a 4-3 defeat.

In perhaps thinking that a game against the Central Division cellar-dwellers would be an automatic ‘W’ in the standings, the ICE were missing one glaring aspect of their game – defense. Struggling to find the outlet pass out of their own zone all night, turnovers, resulting in at least two of Medicine Hat’s four goals played a key role in the Tiger win. Looking like a man visibly frustrated on the lack of defensive play of his charges, Coach Ryan McGill didn’t have to think hard to find reasons for the loss. “I thought we as a team had a lot of chances to score goals – we just didn’t and I thought our defensemen as a group struggled tonight”, said McGill. “That was the bottom line. Our forwards gave us the chances to win the game and we really struggled behind our blueline. It’s mental breakdowns. As a group we didn’t make any direct passes, we panicked with the puck, we just weren’t focused as a group.”

Due to somewhat of a quirk in the schedule, this game was only the third in the season Read more»

Maine vs. UNH weekend

by Jeff Morton
on
“They showed why they’re in the top ten in the country, and we showed
why we’re not”, lamented University of Maine head coach Shawn Walsh
after the UNH Wildcats handed Maine their heads in a 4-1 pounding at the
Whittemore Center in Durham, NH Saturday evening. The teams skated to a
0-0 tie the night before, giving both teams reason to be optimistic for
Saturday, but Ty Conklin and the rest of the Wildcats outplayed Maine to
win the weekend and a share of first place in Hockey East.

The first game of the weekend was largely uneventful with extremely
close checking and only a few quality scoring chances. Both goalies
played well with strong defenses playing well in front of them.
Although the game had no scoring, Maine severely outplayed UNH but
could not finish, and UNH’s penalty kill looked more like a 5 on 5
situation. The moral victory went to Maine, but Saturday night was
quickly approaching and UNH had just found a jumbo can of “whoop-ass”
behind an unused jar of “offense,” both would be opened on Saturday
night.

With Saturday night finally upon Durham, the crowd was restless but
definitely more excited than the night before. The arena was full by
6:30 and the students were already chanting and carrying on. The game
started with a distinctly different look, UNH had a scoring
opportunity. UNH head coach Dick Umile hoped out loud the night before
that his team could build on Friday’s performance and keep improving,
well it happened. Although the first period was scoreless, not only had
UNH goalie Ty Conklin played yet Read more»

2001 AHL All-Star Game – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA

by Jen McCarthy
on

AHL All-Star Skills Competition

Before a boisterous hometown crowd of 8,314, Planet USA doubled up on the Canadian All-Stars to claim the skills competition 16-8. The night was underway with the In Glas Co Puck Control Relay. Planet USA grabbed the quick lead gaining two of possible two points. The relay, consisting of two races, started with three skaters for each team, with Planet USA’s Petersen, Mottau and Kraft leading the Canadians. The individual race between Butsayev and Manlow followed with Butsayev finding the finish line first.

The VIC Ambush followed with player vs. netminder. Each netminder is faced with two different skaters. On the whistle, the first shooter starts from the blue line and picks up any one of five pucks at the hash marks and attempts to score. Shooters have 12 seconds to score as many as five goals…rebounds are allowed. In the end it was the Canadian All-Stars that edged Planet USA for the event and gained the point.

In the KOHO Fastest Skater contest, three players per squad start on opposite sides of the rink from each other and race counter-clockwise one lap around the rink. The Canadian All-Stars swept the event and gained the two possible points, edging Planet USA and taking the lead, 3-2

Undoubtedly one of the most popular events is the CCM Hardest Shot. The title of “Winner of the Hardest Slapshot” is one that any player would love to have added to his name. It could be dubbed “Coolest Event to Win”, in this writer’s opinion. There are two possible points to be won, one Read more»

IceDogs Mid-Season Report

by Larry Bradley
on

OHL 2000 – 2001

IceDogs Mid-Season Report

The Mississauga IceDogs may not have a contending team this year, but that should not stop true hockey fans from visiting the rink. If you love hockey, like I do, you should be able to find entertainment in both the wins and loses, especially at the junior level. On any given night you have the chance to watch many talented, young players. The money you put out for tickets is not jacked-up to compensate some overpaid, underachiever who has been warming the pine all season. These guys play hard for the love of the game and the chance to develop into tomorrow’s leaders. Win or loose junior hockey is still the best bang for your hard-earned buck. Read more»