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.

 

A View from the Other Side

by Jeff Bromley
on
The CHL being what it is, a massive umbrella organization covering three leagues containing fifty-five teams operating from coast to coast, it is not often a small town sports writer from the west gets to see clubs from one of the other leagues. Having the chance to see how one of the other thirds of the CHL operates, naturally I jumped at it.

The North Bay Centennials operate out of the Ontario Hockey League’s, Eastern Conference Central Division and on this night I had the pleasure to take in a game between the hometown Centennials and the storied Peterborough Petes. The first thing you notice when you walk through the doors to Memorial Gardens (Capacity – 3523 plus 500 more for standing room) in North Bay is it’s age. Built in 1954, it’s a far cry from the state of the art facility we enjoy in Cranbrook but it’s not inadequate in the manner that the old Memorial Arena was for housing a major junior club. This old girl had a lot of character and history to it. From its high, sloped bleachers that seemed to go on forever, the sizeable picture of the Queen on one end and a big blue curtain at the other. To its trophy cases and historical hockey and building pictures that adorned the corridors in its wooden innards, it was clearly evident that building had seen some true hockey memories over the years.

The game between the Cents and the Petes was as entertaining they come. The Peterborough squad did seem to have the jump in their skating for most of the night as they clearly dominated the Centennials who were coming off their third game in as Read more»

Czech Republic at World Hockey Challenge

by Robert Neuhauser
on
By the time when all the hockey world watched NHL players of the near future competing at the
WJC in Russia, the NHL players of a more distant future played their tournament in Truro and New
Glasgow. The top Under-17 teams had their meeting there and have spent there a week full of high-
quality hockey, the best that 16 year old kids can play.

The Czech Republic presented a strong squad, who is hoping to make a medal at the Under-18 teams
WJC in 2002, loaded with 2002 and 2003 NHL draft prospects. Jiri Hudler, a potential top 5 pick
in the 2002 draft, missed this tournament because he attended the Under-20 team selection camp,
from where he was scratched. He spent the following days with practicing with his HC Slovnaft Vsetin
team, before being moved to the HC Havirov Panthers in mid-January. But other 2002 top prospects
made the trip to Canada. Hudler’s teammate Robin Kovar, a sized winger with great scoring touch,
Petr Kanko of HC Sparta Praha, a speedy winger with some games already played in the Elite
league or Marian Havel, brother of WJC champion Lukas Havel and current captain of SK Jihlava
junior team. The defense boasted the likes of Ondrej Nemec or Martin Vagner, aggresive mobile
defensemen, both serious 2002 prospects. When we look even more into the future, we see the
2003 NHL draft coming. And it’s most likely that the names of defensemen Jiri Drtina and
Lukas Pulpan will be called along with forward Kamil Kreps of Litvinov. Pulpan and Drtina are
1985 born prospects and Kreps was born in late 1984, so 2003 eligible. The Czechs w Read more»

Jimmy Roy’s Dream Still Alive

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
In Northwestern Ontario in the small town of Sioux Lookout on a cold Saturday afternoon it is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. In goal is a young Jimmy Roy who stops shot after shot in the overtime until his team finally scores the game winner. Roy once again is a Stanley Cup winner. It is the dream of every young Canadian boy growing up playing hockey to win the Stanley Cup and for Jimmy Roy the dream is still alive.

Born in Sioux Lookout, Ontario Roy, began his hockey career like any other Canadian boy on the outdoor rink. “We used to play alot of hockey on the outdoor rinks and alot of street hockey, but I usually played in goal.” Roy said. “All the neighbour hood kids would come down to our place and we would play for hours. I think most of the time they would come and see me and my brother fight, but we all had fun.”

Like many young Canadian boys Roy left home at an early age to pursue a career in the sport he loved. ” I moved to Kenora, Ontario where I played triple A midget for 3 years then moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario and played junior A tier 2 with the Thunder Bay Flyers for a year in the USHL.”
After his one year stint in the USHL Jimmy took a different route in his hockey career. Instead of going to playy major junior A, Jimmy opted to go try the college route with Michigan Tech in the WCHA. After 2 years with Michigan Tech a new door opened for Jimmy when the opportunity to represent Canada on the Canadian National Team. “Anytime you have an opportunity to represent your country and put a maple leaf jersey on, its an honour and I want Read more»

Avalanche of News…

by Mike Kretschmer
on

Hey everyone:

Since my last update, things have been rather hectic, but the Colorado page is about to get back on track. Thanks for the patience!

First off all, I would like to point out that Dan Hinote is just what this team has needed. A while back, I pointed out that the Avs needed an aggressive agitator of sorts to go all the way this year; a Tyson Nash-type of player. But, instead of that, the Avs have something a little more respectable and just as productive in Dan Hinote. Hinote’s play on the third and fourth lines have been downright inspirational at best. While such acclaim will not win him any awards in the league, Hinote’s play has earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, especially Shjon Podein, who is having a career year. In my opinion, the Avs third line hasn’t looked as good as the old Keane, Ricci, and Yelle line of ’96, but it is getting there, thanks to the play of Hinote.

Another more recent surprise has been the play of Hershey call up Rick Berry. Called up as a temporary replacement for the injured Adam Foote, Berry’s play has been solid. In fact, his play has forced Nolan Pratt back to the bench at times. Berry’s game is simple, and his movement hasn’t looked too shaky. Look for Berry to make the most of his callup time, and look for Pratt to be on the way out of Denver around the deadline.

Read more»

Knutsen`s Success: Will it Bring More Norwegians to the NHL?

by Evan Andriopoulos
on
As Espen Knutsen`s toils with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks seem to fade away they are still in the picture of the Norwegian sports scene. After Knutsen`s orignal drafting by the Hartford Whalers and then his subsequent demotion as a member of the Mighty Ducks… still the Norwegian Media and young players flocked to the sport of hockey. After his failure and countrymate Anders Myrvold`s return to Swedish Hockey after a failed Bruins effort the sport lost great deals of interest. Coupled with the loss of Norwegian “Stars” to the Swedish Leagues and other European Leagues the fans started to turn their back on the sport. If not for the occassion “bad news” of the Norwegian League or another loss at various international tourneys…the youth avoided the sport and sponsorship money began to fade.

Hopes that Espen Knutsen`s solid play this time around and countrymates Anders Myrvold(Islanders)return to the NHL and the drafting of Tore Vikingstad(Blues)would have bouyed the interest…. but to date the only additional notes are the media`s additional coverage, covering Espen`s daily toils, the fans have been more skeptical perhaps due to the fact that Knutsen`s last voyage failed so miserably.

However in the pipeline players like Vikingstad and Patrick Thoresen, Christian Thygesen and Lasse Fredriksen lead the way…

The problem seems to lie within the organizations. The teams are loading up with lesser Swedish players and stunting the growth of Norwegian players. Former NHLer Serge Boisvert has been a champion of the cause the raise the level of t Read more»

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