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.

 

The Flyers can fly high with Jiri Dopita

by Robert Neuhauser
on
We’ll probably not exactly find out which reason forced Jiri Dopita, arguably the best forward
outside the NHL, to try his luck on the other side of the pond. But one thing is for sure.
After refusing offers from the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and lastly the Florida
Panthers, Jiri joins former Vsetin teammate Roman Cechmanek in Philadelphia. Jiri Dopita,
nicknamed Dopi (read Dopey) will celebrate his 33rd birthday in December and this native
from Sumperk, Czech Republic can’t be labelled as one who is entering his prime. But he can
provide immediate help and boost the Flyers offense for the next 4-5 years.

Jiri started to play hockey and handball in his native Sumperk in mid-70’s. It was soon clear
that this guy has a very good hockey sense and talent and Jiri stayed in Sumperk only till
he was ready to play in the elite junior league. HC Olomouc has brought him into the system, but
he didn’t make his Czechoslovakian 1. liga (elite league at that time) debut in Olomouc jersey. He
had to enter the army for two years and he played in his debut among the seniors for the army
team HC Dukla Jihlava. That was in the 1989-90 season. Jiri split the two army years between
HC Dukla Jihlava and VTJ Tabor and returned to Olomouc as the 1992-93 seeason passed the
halfway mark.

Jiri Dopita was originally a Boston Bruins’ draft choice back in 1992, 132nd overall. At one time
it seemed that Jiri will accept their offer and fight for a roster spot with the Bruins, but
finally Jiri refused the Bruins offer and chose to play for Eisbaren Berlin (Berlin Ic Read more»

Habs’ development camp (day 3)

by Chris Boucher
on
Day three of the Canadiens Prospect Development Camp came and went with the same level of intensity as the previous two practices. Drills were up-tempo, players worked hard, and Clement Jodoin (AKA: King of the X’s and O’s) put together another masterfully, well organized practice.

Russian goaltender, Vadim Tarasov continues to wade through visa problems. But might be in Montreal by the weekend. He, along with Mike Komisarek (US Junior camp), and Duncan Milroy (Canadian Junior camp) continue to be the only notable absentees.

The Habs’ brain trust is well represented on site. With André Savard, Martin Madden, Michel Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, and Pierre Boivin all present and accounted for. Their main focus appears to be on Ron Hainsey (1st round, 2000) who continually demonstrates strong puck-handling skill to go along with his mobility, and positive attitude. Hainsey leads by example. He’s always smiling, and obviously enjoys the game with a contagious passion.

Non-property invitee Francois Fortier, a 21 year-old forward who split last season between Hartford and Quebec has shown a strong skating stride, as well as good puck-skills. Most surprising however, has been the 5’11”, 194 lbs. forward’s intensity level.

Alexandre Tremblay, another non-property invitee has continued to impress with his skill level. He has an NHL-calibre release, and shot. However, his lack of size may be the deciding factor in his potential future with Montreal.

Jerome Marois (9th round, 1999), who will likely begin the season in Quebec, or Miss Read more»

Team Toughness not a problem in Flyers system

by Mike Castor
on

The Flyers have a long history of playing tough and having the top enforcers in the game. Although the game has changed much since the Broad Street Bullies era, hockey still needs policemen. The Flyers in recent drafts have drafted players that can play and are willing to drop the gloves to add a spark. This article will look at the current Flyer players that will lead the way in the toughness area. Also it will take a look at the players trying to make their mark with the orange and black. The Flyers enter this season with a team that is highly skilled but also feisty. The addition of Roenick will only add to the overall toughness of Richardson, Primeau, McGillis, and Tocchet. The Broad Street Bullies they are not, but they are not a team that can be pushed around.

Todd Fedoruk - Todd has progress through the Flyers system rather rapidly. He played some games for the Phantoms 1999 – 2000 and also saw action with the Trenton Titians. The Flyers have always been impressed with his skating ability for such a large man (6’2 235 lbs). Todd’s nickname is the “ Fridge “ because of his wide stocky build. He also has his last name tattooed on his back so the fans will know who he is when he gets his jersey torn off he once said jokingly. Fedoruk has average skill that will allow him to take regular shifts and not hurt the team. Last preseason he knocked Sandy McCarthy out with the nasty left that he likes to throw in tight. He also can switch up hands during a fight to throw off the opponent. Todd had several fights his rookie year in which he won most of t Read more»

A “Goal”den Group of Prospects

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The New York Rangers have one of the deepest group of talented goaltending prospects, rivaling only a few teams, including the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks. The Rangers have put a lot of time and effort into developing potential NHL goalies. Although the current goaltending for the Rangers in the NHL is questionable, with Mike Richter rehabbing a second torn ACL and no current back, their are not many doubts about the prospects playing all over the world between the pipes for the Rangers.

When the Rangers selected goaltender Dan Blackburn from the Kootenay Ice of the WHL 10th Overall this past draft, it left many Rangers’ fans shaking their heads. “Why another goaltender?” was a common phrase that was being used. But, in today’s NHL, you can never have enough goaltending. Goaltending wins championships, and if you don’t have an excellent goalie between the pipes, don’t expect your team to go far. The selection of Blackburn reminded me of the situation with the New Jersey Devils two years ago. With Martin Brodeur in his prime and the fact the team just drafted goaltender JF Damphousse in the 1st Round of the 1997 Entry Draft, the Devils selected goaltender Ari Ahonen from Finland in the 1st round of the 1999 Draft. This move puzzled many fans as well.

Now a little more than two years later, the selection is looking like a great one for the Devils. Martin Brodeur’s play has clearly been slipping over the last year and a half, and Ahonen is arguably one of the top goalt Read more»

Hockey’s Future profiles Stephen Weiss

by Mark Fischel
on

Of all the players drafted this year, Stephen Weiss might have been the most complete and well-rounded of the top players. Blessed with natural offensive instincts and a solid scoring touch around the net, Stephen makes his teammates better due to his unselfish play and very good hockey sense. Former Whalers Asst. Coach Steve Spott on his star center “Stephen Competes very hard, He doesn’t put himself in awkward positions on the ice, he is very intelligent that way.” To go with the natural instincts, Weiss is an effortless skater with excellent speed, acceleration and can outskate and outplay his opponents in one-on-one situations.

Stephen’s smaller stature might have been the only thing keeping him back from going higher in the draft, but Stephen doesn’t let his average size hold him back in all ends of the ice “The offensive Stuff is god-given, and he (Stephen) can do that anyways, but he has made a conscious decision to play well defensively, and that is why he is such a complete player.” This effort to play in all zones and be considered a threat whenever he is on the ice, is what made Stephen stand out to the Panthers as well. Stephen is a good fore-checker and will put the team ahead of personal statistics.

While he excelled in the OHL in faceoffs, it becomes a different skill altogether in the NHL, According to Steve Spott “In junior hockey, sometimes, you get in a habit where the importance of faceoffs aren’t stressed enough. That is something he will have to continue to work on and technically he is very good, but along with his s Read more»

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