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.

 

World Junior Cup: Sweden-Russia game recap

by Robert Neuhauser
on
World’s top 1984 born players, excluding the USA team gathered this
week in the Czech cities Nymburk, Kolin and Mlada Boleslav to take part in the World Junior
Cup of the Under-18 teams. Lots of future NHLers play here and lots of scouts watch them.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch a game of the Czech team, but I was at the Sweden-Russia
contest instead. I concentrated mostly on the Russian players like forwards Vladislav Evseev, Dmitri
Kazionov, Nikolai Zherdev or Dmitri Korneev and defensemen Anton Babchuk with Kirill Stepanov,
all of whom will likely become top draft picks in their respective draft years. On the Swedish
team, top 2003 prospect Robert Nilsson caught my eye. I’ll try to comment their game with their
strengths and weaknesses after a recap of the game.

As it could be forseen, both teams showed a fast-paced game with some great plays from some
individuals. There weren’t lots of hits, even if in the first seconds of the game a Swedish
player delivered a great hit which sent his Russian opponent to the Russia’s players bench.
The young Swedes played defensively very well and the Russians had a hard time finding holes
in their defense. But they have players who can find them. The tall alternate captain with
the number 19 on his back, Vladislav Evseev, immediately showed his great skill when he grabbed
the puck in the neutral zone, went for an one-on-one situation, deked the Swedish defenseman
with a nifty stick move but was too close to the Swedish goalie Joakim Lundstrom to lift the
puck over him and Lundstrom made a save.

Pl Read more»

Kovalchuk signs contract with Thrashers

by Jake Dole
on
The Atlanta Thrashers beat the midnight deadline on Wednesday to sign the first overall selection in the 2001 draft Ilya Kovalchuk. The deal is reportedly worth $3.4 million for 3 years, the maximum allowed for rookies by the NHL.
Kovalchuk, who dominated in the High League last year, amassed 42 goals in 51 games. Along with an excellent U-18 performance, Ilya virtually guaranteed himself the first-overall position months before the draft.
If Kovalchuk had not been signed, he would have returned to play in Russia, playing for Spartak of the Superleague. Now that he is signed, expect Ilya to make the Thrashers’ roster. However, making the team will not be a walk in the park. Kovalchuk is expected to battle Lubos Bartecko and Patrik Stefan for a left-wing spot on the top 2 lines. Hnat Domenichelli and Ladislav Kohn are the other two left wings battling for a roster spot with Atlanta.
If Ilya fails to make the Atlanta roster, he will play another year in Russia, competing a level higher, versus older and more physical competition.
During last year, Ilya earned a reputation for being an intimidating, physical competitor, with a bruising two-way style. Despite certain questions arising about his maturity, Thrashers GM Don Waddell has remained positive about Kovalchuk’s attitude. He stated that Ilya had exceptional work ethic and that his desire to succeed was strictly a positive for his development. Keeping in mind the Thrashers’ second half struggles last year, it might be a good idea to add a good dosage of intensity Read more»

HF Making Changes for a Brighter Future….

by Eric Taylor
on
Hey there Hockey’s Future fanatics! This is our 4th+ year running
strong here at Hockey’s Future and we only look to get better with many
exciting things planned for the upcoming year. As times change, so must
Hockey’s Future. Today we unveil a brand new re-design of Hockey’s Future,
with a much more organized look and feel. Of course, since it is something
new, there are quite a bit of changes. We would love to hear your feedback
on the layout (good or bad). So send us an e-mail Feedback@hockeysfuture.com
and we’ll definitely be listening to the feedback you send in.

Also with the re-design of Hockey’s Future, we are now accepting advertisers who are looking for some great exposure on one of the top 20 hockey web sites online in terms of traffic. We have some great packages set up, so check out our Advertising part of the site and see if you or someone you know might be interested. This will help us grow and further our coverage of the top hockey prospects from around the world.

Now on to the BIG NEWS: The Day to Day operations of Hockey’s Future will
now be run by Mark Fischel
(Managing Editor) and Shane
Malloy
(Asst. Managing Editor). We the Taylor brothers(Bryan, Eric and Craig) are forced to focus our efforts on other ventures that are a bit more profitable which allow us to keep HF open and growing. We will work closely with Shane and Mark to Read more»

Could Blackburn make the Rangers?

by Jeff Bromley
on

When Dan Blackburn’s name was called
by New York Rangers GM Glen
Sather last June, you couldn’t help to
feel anything but pride and joy for the
18-year-old goaltending phenom
who in two short years had captured the
hearts of Kootenay ICE fans by
backstopping the club to a WHL title
and Memorial Cup appearance only one
year prior. It is, after all, the natural
progression of Major Junior hockey.

Budding teenage hockey prodigies
arrive, take the local club to glorious
heights, get noticed by pro scouts, are
drafted and move to the bright lights and
big cities of the NHL. In a perfect world
that would happen after four years of
yeomen service in the junior ranks.
Unfortunately in the world of Junior
hockey its fans and its burgeoning stars,
it is far from perfect.

Upon further examination of the New
Rangers roster it is enough to make you
cheer for the Canmore, Alta. native’s
chances but it is also evidence enough to
make you quietly cringe at the
realization that the ‘tender affectionately
known as ‘Blackie’ could quite possibly
be sitting on the bench for the Broadway
BlueShirts this season. Crazy talk, you
say? One look at the Rangers sheer lack
of depth in goal might make any
naysayers change their tune.

Two significant developments out of
New York this past week shed some
light on the situation. First, All-Star
goalie Mike Richter announces that he
almost certainly will be ready to resume
his place as the Ranger’s number one
goalie after recovering from blowing out
his knee back in February. His second Read more»

Recent Hab happenings

by Chris Boucher
on
While most Canadiens’ fans wait for word on Brett Hull, the Habs’ prospect development camp continues in Ville St. Pierre. Recent Hab happenings include Marcel Hossa signing a 3-year deal, Vadim Tarasov and Andrei Kruchinin arriving in Montreal, and Alexander Buturlin close to signing a contract in Russia.

Marcel Hossa (1st round, 2000) signed a 3-year deal with the Canadiens. The physical commitment he showed during the off-season definitely contributed to the contract offer. Throughout the development camp the 6’1′, 211 lbs. Slovakian has consistently demonstrated his superior strength and puck-handling skills. The Canadiens feel his development will be best served by the pro game. The center turned winger has an outside chance of making the big club. But the safe bet is on Hossa starting the season in Quebec.

Last season Hossa played in 58 regular season games with Portland. He registered 90 points (34-56-90), and was +11, with 58 minutes in penalties. Fourteen of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 1 was scored short-handed. He was named the WHL’s top player for the week ending October 22nd, and also for the week ending March 18th.

Playing with Slovakia during the World Junior Championship, Marcel seemed to under-achieve. He scored only 1 goal during the tournament, while adding 3 assists. He did however demonstrate some impressive play-making skills, and came away from the tournament with a +1 rating on a Slovakian team that finished in 8th place.

Although Portland played extremely well in the WHL playoffs, Hossa w Read more»

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