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.

 

Norway News and Notes

by Evan Andriopoulos
on

Former Rangers prospect/minor leaguer Anders Myrvold decided the AHL and Hartford was not for him. Myrvold signed a contract after agreeing to be released with Fribourg of the Swiss league for the remainder of their season. Myrvold said he hopes to return to the Rangers and Hartford for the playoffs. Myrvold decided that there was “no room at the inn” in New York with the big club so more ice time in Europe was more to his satisfaction.

Espen Knutsen continues to play more and more for the Columbus Blue Jackets logging nearly 27 minutes in the past 2 games. Knutsen of Oslo has struggled with the Jackets but looks to be improving.

Norwegian Patrik Thoresen is playing for Moncton of the QMJHL and is currently second in the entire Q-league in rookie scoring with 17goals and 41points in 33 games. Thoresen is fast moving up the central scouting boards ratings for the 2002 NHL entry draft. If his mind is in it… watch out for this kid.

St.Louis Blues prospect Tore Vikingstad has signed another deal with his German club Düsseldorf. Vikingstad has been a key player for his club and Blues fans will have to wait another year or so to see this talented player.

Jonas Norgren has been splitting time in the nets with Geir Østberg in Storhamar. Norgren locked up the starting job earlier this season but after struggles early in the season Norgren was named Co-no.1.

Read more»

Kootenay Swaps Rear-guards at Deadline

by Jeff Bromley
on

The Kootenay ICE made a case for the defense over a three-game road trip last weekend, unfortunately it just wasn’t a very good one. The Key City club managed a paltry one point out of a possible six with losses against Swift Current and Lethbridge and a tie against the Medicine Hat Tigers and it made their current hold on third place in the B.C. Division a precarious one with the Kelowna Rockets a scant two points back with three games in hand. Being so close to the January 14 trade deadline it no longer became a wonder whether or not a personnel change might happen but rather a matter of when. Just before the 3:00 PM M.S.T. deadline Monday, it did and again it would be a long-time familiar face that would be making his way out of town.

Fulfilling one of his trade deadline wishes of shoring up his club’s blueline, Kootenay ICE G.M. Jeff Chynoweth swapped nineteen-yr-old defenseman Trevor Johnson for nineteen-yr-old rearguard Gerard Dicaire of the Seattle Thunderbirds. It’s a change in venue and a deal that Coach Ryan McGill thinks it will be beneficial to the four-year veteran. “Trevor’s been here a long time,” said McGill the day after the deal was made. “Obviously he was a big part of our championship team and when Steve (McCarthy) went down Trevor took over and he took over at the age of seventeen and that’s pretty commendable on his part. He did a heck of a job.”

McGill was quick to commend his fiery blueliner but admitted that certain aspects of the Trail, B.C. product’s play had hit the wall of late. A fact made more glaringly obvious by the minus-22 Read more»

Canadiens’ Weekly Prospects Update

by Chris Boucher
on

Duncan Milroy -RW (Drafted-01(2/37))

Duncan Milroy managed 2 assists through 3 games since our last update. Both his assists came during a 3-2 loss to Swift Current. He currently has the eighth-best goal total in the WHL. Overall, the 6’0″, 185-lbs winger has played 40 games. He has 46 points (27-19-46), and is -5 with 30 minutes in penalties. Ten of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 2 others were scored shorthanded.

Josef Balej -RW (Drafted-00(3/78))

Portland’s Josef Balej managed 6 points through 3 games since our last update. Balej is currently 3rd in league scoring, and leads the entire league in goals with 36. He’s also on a 7-game point-scoring streak, and has managed 10 goals and 4 assists over the same span. Overall, the 5’11”, 175-lbs winger has played 41 games. He has 62 points (36-26-62), and is +18 with 30 minutes in penalties. Four of his goals were scored short-handed, while 16 others were scored on the powerplay.
WHL player of the week for the week ending December 25th.
WHL player of the month for December.

Andrew Archer -D (Drafted-01(7/203))

Andrew Archer was shutout through 2 games since our last update. He suffered a apparent shoulder injury during a January 11th game against Sarnia, and was unable to play two days later against Oshawa. Overall, the 6’4″, 195-lbs stay at home defenseman has played 39 games. He has 11 points (1-10-11), and is -5 with 50 minutes in penalties.

Eric Himelfarb -C (Drafted-01(6/171))

Sarnia’s Eric Himelfarb managed 8 points throug Read more»

Game Misconduct: Are We Missing Something on Jason Spezza?

by Tony Bryson
on

A player comes along every now and then that captures the eye of scouts at a very young age. He is so superior to any of his peers that he is dominant in every aspect of the game. It’s not a matter of just having a size or skill advantage, or being brighter that the other players, but a blend of all of these gifts. This player brings such ability and leadership that teams are built around this individual. Jason Spezza was one of these players.

At a very young age, people could see Jason was something special. He had skill oozing out of his pores. Jason was a kid that had scouts salivating before he was more than a year into his teens. He played in the Ontario Hockey League for the Brampton Battalion one year before he was draft eligible, and lead that team in scoring at the tender age of fifteen. He ended up being drafted first overall in the 1999 OHL Priority player draft by the expansion Mississauga Ice Dogs. The Ice Dogs were ecstatic about getting Spezza, as this was a player that they could build a championship team around. In his first year with the Ice Dogs, Jason did not disappoint. He scored a respectable sixty-one points in a mere fifty-two games, leaving him second on the team to only Chad Wiseman. It should be noted that Wiseman did have an advantage of playing sixteen games more games than Spezza that season. The Ice Dogs only won nine games that year, but they had a player they could build a winner around.

The fall of 2000 took Jason back to Mississauga for the start of the season. The Ice Dogs were not a very good team and headin Read more»

Stanton “On his Head”

by HF Staff
on

He has the best goals against average in the Western Hockey League, an eyelash above two (2.02). He has the best save percentage in the WHL an eyelash above 93 (.934). His record over his last 11starts is 8-1-2.

Oh yeah, he’s the Cougars “back-up goalie” and his name is Kyle Stanton.

The 19-year-old from “The Little Town that Did” (Chemainus, B.C.) is doing it for the Prince George Cougars.

“I’m just seeing the puck very well right now,” said Stanton, who earned his second career WHL shutout Dec. 29 in Spokane. “I want more playing time and to get that, I need to play like this.”

Stanton’s WHL career began in Kelowna before a trade brought him to the Cougars a season ago. He’s shared the Cougar crease with Billy Thompson, who has seen the bulk of work for the Cats.

Thompson was a fifth round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in the 2001 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

“Billy and I are great friends,” Stanton said. “We don’t feel like there is any goaltending controversy, we both want to play and when he plays well I’m happy for him.”

“Kyle’s a great goalie,” Thompson said. “He’s my teammate and it’s just to bad we can only play one goalie at a time.”

Cougar head coach Ed Dempsey noted that the current situation promotes healthy competition. “Not to many teams have two quality goaltenders like we do,” Dempsey said. “I think they both understand our situation and are working together to keep themselves sharp.”

COUGAR TRACKS: The Cougars continue to battle for first place atop the BC Read more»

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