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.

 

Grizzlies/Canadian Juniors Update

by Keith Riskey
on

Notebook — 12/5/2000

Utah Grizzlies Update

The Utah Grizzlies just completed two more ho-hum weeks, playing about .500 hockey (3-2-2) in their season’s longest homestand of seven games. At home, they have showcased excellent special teams placing them first in the league in penalty killing and fourth in the league in power play percentage at home. Utah (11-9-2, 25 points) now stands in sole possession of second place in the IHL Western Conference behind the impressive Manitoba Moose (13-5-2, 28 points).

Grizzlies Notes:

  • Stars forward prospect Ryan Christie has injured his shoulder and is now out indefinitely.
  • Goalie Chad Alban was returned to the Idaho Steelheads of the WCHL after Rick Tabaracci made a healthy (but losing) return against the Chicago Wolves.
  • John Purves — a Utah forward and career IHL’er — is now fifth in the IHL in scoring (9 g, 12 a, 21 p).
  • David Ling is now second in the IHL in power play goals with 7.
  • Mike Bales is third in the IHL in Goals Against Average with 2.45.

Top Utah Scorers
Read more»

Weistche A Pleasant Surprise

by Brad Coccimiglio
on
Name: Ryan Weistche
Team: Soo Greyhounds
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 168 lbs
Hometown: Waskaganish, Quebec
Position: Centre
Last season Ryan Weistche was playing hockey in a bush league in
Northern Quebec. This season Weistche is one step away from the NHL.
Talk about change.

Weistche (pronounced Wee-chee) was invited to the Soo Greyhounds 2000
training camp on the advice of Greyhound assistant coach Bill Hughes.
Hughes saw Weistche playing in a tournament in Timmins, Ontario.

Weistche has seen his ice time with the Greyhounds fluctuate since the
start of the season. He is a mainstay in the Greyhounds lineup though
seeing time on the fourth line and he also sees limited time on the
Greyhounds power play along with some time killing penalties. He has
also played in overtime situations.

Weistche came to the Greyhounds training camp virtually unheralded. Not
very many people, except for those in the Greyhounds organization, knew
much, if anything, about Weistche when he first came to camp.

Weistche, 18, is currently undrafted. He did attend a hockey camp in
the Czech Republic during the summer that seemed to help him prepare for
his first junior hockey training camp.

All of his teammates were impressed with his ability. They all
commented on his vision of the ice and his passing ability. His
playmaking abilities are impressive. He is also very quick which makes
him a good fit with players like Cory Pecker and Martin Bonda who are
very qu Read more»

Who will take the gamble on Chiarello?

by Jessica Haskin
on
Gene Chiarello has had quite a successful junior and college career as
to date but has never gotten his chance to play with the pro’s.

Chiarello played his juniors with the London Knights of the OHL and
posted save percentages of .844, .906, and .908 on a team that had
little defense.

Chiarello, Tom Kostopoulos, and John Erskine led the team to the OHL
finals in ’99, the furthest the Knights had ever made it in the history
of the team. Chiarello backed the team making up to 60 saves some
nights.

He was invited to Buffalo’s training camp in ’99 but was released and
went back to the Knights. He went to the Columbus Blue Jackets rookie
camp and was hoping he might be able to crack the line up there.
Although he had a good camp he was released, unable to get into the Blue
Jackets system already containing six goalies.

What is the reason that so many teams have passed over him? Is it his
“losing” record? Is it his willingness to take that gamble, diving way
out of his net for the puck? Will playing with the Varsity Reds of
the University of New Brunswick and a winning record help some pro
teams to take that second glance?

Chiarello has played every game this season with the Varsity Red’s. He
had a shaky start but now has a six game run without a loss.

“He’s been a real good addition for our hockey club” said Coach Gardiner
MacDougall.

He came in as a freshman and has responded very well to the new players
and the difference in the game. He continues to get better with every
Read more»

Blues Prospects Update

by Danny Raborn
on

Daniel Corso-C-Corso has improved every year (three in all) with the Worcester Ice Cats, 28 points to 55 points, and is now on a pace for well over 55. So far this season he has 21 goals and 34 assists in 55 games. In the last three years, the top scorer for the Ice Cats has been promoted to the Blues; Michael Handzus, Jochen Hecht, and Jim Campbell, although Campbell wore out his welcome and was let go.

Mike Van Ryn-D-Van Ryn played in the Blues first game this season, but made 2 huge mistakes and was demoted a week later after sitting out to many games. That really hurt his confidence and he started off slow in Worcester, but now may be making a comeback, as he had two goals in his last game. He has 2 goals and 3 assists in 13 games.

Barret Jackman-D-Jackman separated his shoulder recently, but is expected to play for team Canada this year in the WJHC. Before the injury he played 25 games in the WHL with the Regina Pats. In those 25 games, he recorded 6 goals and 21 assists for 27 points.

Andrei Trochinsky-C/RW-In his first season in North America, as a member of the Worcester Ice Cats, he has played 19 games and has 5 goals and 3 assists for 8 points.

Jaroslav Obsut-D-Obsut could be having a huge break out season this year with Worcester, November 12th, he was named AHL player of the week after getting five points in 2 games. In 20 games, he has 5 goals and 8 assists , 13 points. That’s one more point than he had for the last two years combined.

Marc Rycroft-RW-Rycroft is having a great rookie seas Read more»

Manny Malhotra: Back Onto The Radar?

by Brandon LeBourveau
on
After a horrible season last year in which Manny Malhotra couldn’t get out of John Muckler’s doghouse, Malhotra looks reborn under new head coach Ron Low. After playing for 4 different teams last season, it appears Manny may be on his way to once again earn a full time job in the NHL.

Malhotra was recalled on November 25th after Eric Lacroix went down with a fractured finger and is expected to be out of action for 4-6 weeks. Malhotra has played in 4 games so far since being recalled and each game he was close to being the Rangers top forward. He has been playing an aggressive physical game, while finishing every check and chipping in offensively. He has been very good in the offensive zone, cycling down low and making nice plays to get by the defensemen. He has 2 goals so far, scored against Jamie Storr and Martin Brodeur. Some people may criticize the goals because they were both lucky, but I don’t care how they go in as long as they count.

On his goal against the Kings, he took a backhander as he was cruising down the boards and the puck trickled in between Jamie Storr’s legs, who appeared to be out of position and misplay the puck. The next night in New Jersey, Malhotra got the Rangers back into the game and tied it at 1-1 as he took a slapshot from the top of the left circle and it went in over Martin Brodeur’s glove. Brodeur’s glove was interfered with as his teammate Scott Stevens accidentally hit it with his stick.

I think this is the best I’ve seen Malhotra play in the last year or so. Right now he is centering a line with Adam Grav Read more»