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.

 

Logjam between the pipes freed as Labbe traded

by Evan Andriopoulos
on
J.F.Labbe was a fan favorite in Hartford and won his 2nd Calder Cup. Labbe has been descibed as a fringe AHL goalie almost too good for the AHL but without a home in the NHL. Labbe appeared in one game with New York last season posting a 0-1-0 3.00gaa record. In 8 games in Hartford he posted a 4-2-1 record with a 3.04 goals against. Erstwhile Vitaly Yeremeyev will join Hartford to back-up Johan Holmqvist. Yeremeyev was in Charlotte (ECHL) and posted a 2-2-0 record.

Coming to New York, atleast on paper is Swedish defender Bert Robertsson who appeared in 52 games with Edmonton last season recording 4 assists and 34 penalty minutes. Robertsson is currently in Houston of IHL and will remain there for the time being. Robertsson is a nice skating 26 year old defender out of Sodertalje, Sweden and carries 6-2 210 very well. The Rangers are his 3rd club (previously Vancouver and Edmonton) and he brings 121 NHL games of experience to the new log jam at defense in the Rangers minor league system. With Kim Johnsson on the shelf for 2 weeks or so, Robertsson may just be in New York if the ship Rangers starts to sink.

Rangers Update: Stats For Prospects

by Brandon LeBourveau
on
Player         Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Pavel Brendl  Calgary   WHL    15  18  15  33   8   16

Last Game: 11/11 Calgary vs. Prince Albert; 5 G, O A, 5 P, 0 PIM

Comments:
Brendl finally broke out of his slump last night, netting 5 goals in an 8-2
win over the Prince Albert Raiders. Brendl was scoreless in his previous 5
games, and last time he scored before that it was against the Raiders also,
as he scored twice en route to a 12-4 win. Brendl is currently tied for 8th
in WHL scoring with Konstantin Panov of the Kamloops Blazers with 33 points,
and is 3rd in goals with 18, as Mike Comrie of Kootenay (32 goals) and Layne
Ulmer of Swift Current (22 goals) are ahead of him. Lets hope Brendl doesn’t
go back into another slump and that he can continue to dominate this league.

Player           Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Jamie Lundmark  Seattle   WHL     7   7   4  11   9    0

Last Game: 11/11 Seattle vs. Brandon; 2 G, O A, 2 P, 0 PIM

Comments:
Lundmark is just starting to get comfortable with his new team and is
starting to put up big numbers. The Thunderbirds were slaughtered last night
9-3 by the Brandon Wheat Kings, but the bright spot for Seattle was Lundmark
who scored 2 goals in the loss. He currently has 11 points in 7 games on the
season (7 goals, 4 assists) and we should expect him to continue producing
and leading Seattle’s dangerous offense which also boasts top prospects Shane
Endicott, David Morisset and Barret Heisten.

Player         Te Read more»

Pete, Bob Crawford have lofty goals for Springfield Jr. Blues

by Derek Berry
on

When you hear the last name Crawford on various levels in the hockey
world, whether it be amateur or professional, chances are people will
know the name.

It’s no surprise that Pete Crawford, general manager of the North
American Hockey League’s (NAHL) Springfield Jr. Blues is where he is and
has a burning desire to win.

Just like the rest of his highly competitive family.

Pete Crawford is one of nine brothers and sisters, a good majority of
whom have some type of job in hockey or sports in general.

Besides Pete, there is Bob who also is involved with Springfield and
owns the Connecticut Clippers of the Metropolitan Hockey League. Bob
also owns a team in Canada, and runs a hockey rink business on the east
coast. Brother Louie is the head coach of St. John’s, the top minor
league affiliate for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Todd Crawford is a former Olympic bobsledder; Eric Crawford is the video
coordinator for the Vancouver Canucks; and the head coach of the Canucks
is none other than Marc Crawford, perhaps the most famous of the
brothers’ Crawford, who lead the Colorado Avalanche to the 1996 Stanley
Cup and battled the Detroit Red Wings for several years as the Avs’
leader.

Oh, and don’t forget dad Floyd Crawford, who still keeps his hand in the
sport as head of scouting for the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL)
Belleville Bulls.

Pete attributes his success and desire to be the best at whatever he
does to his family.

“I’m from a very competitive family and I’m a competitive person,” says
Pete, a former hockey player 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.

Korolev Rumours Rampant: Many media sources have reported, this week, that Leafs’ C/W Igor Korolev may soon be on his way to the Island (or perhaps to Chicago) … the thinking seems to be that the team needs to make room for Big Nik Antropov when he returns to the line-up at the end of November … there are at least a couple of significant problems with this theory though … first, the Maple Leafs are currently 1 man under the NHL roster limit and will not be forced to move anyone out in order to activate Antropov … second, Korolev can be re-deployed on either wing – meaning that both he and Antropov can be used in the same line-up quite effectively … lastly, Igor is a personal favorite of Pat Quinn’s and his versatility, sound positional play and quite leadership remain valued elements on the Toronto squad … at this time, a deal for something as inconsequential as mid round draft choices seems highly unlikely … besides, the Maple Leafs will need all the depth that they can muster if they hope to acquire another significant player prior to the playoffs …

MLG Plans Shelved: The sale of Maple Leaf Gardens has been put on hold after a snag in plans to develop the 69-year-old hockey shrine … the major issue between the intended developer (PenEquity Management Corp.) and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment was over the reten Read more»

Tracking a Phenom, Jason Spezza – 2nd Installment

by Bob Chery
on
I will post my preliminary rankings of OHL players eligible for the NHL Draft early next week. I don’t foresee any changes to the Top Five that I posted in my pre-season rankings, but there will be some shuffling beyond that point. There are a couple of power-forwards rising through the ranks, plus of course the birthdate issues. Perhaps by then we’ll know where Spezza ends up.