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.

 

Back in the Fold: Ray Giroux

by Joe Muccia
on

Background

Ray had the distinction of being drafted right out of high school. The Flyers took him with their 7th choice (202nd overall) in the 1994 Entry Draft. Due to his excellent scholastic and athletic ability, Ray attended Yale University. Over a four period at Yale, Ray scored 83 points in 124 games, including leading the ECAC in assists with 30 in 35 games in 1997-1998. He was also named to the ECAC All-Star First Team and NCAA East First All-American Team.

In August of 1998, the Islanders acquired Ray from the Flyers for their 6th round pick in 2000. He came to training camp in 1998 and was assigned to the Isles AHL affiliate in Lowell. He scored 32 points (13 goals and 19 assists) in 59 games for the Lock Monsters. He was named
to the AHL All-Star Team for his efforts.

Again assigned to the Lock Monsters in 1999-2000, Ray contributed well. He scored 33 points (12 goals and 21 assists) in 49 games. Late in the 1999-2000, due to the lengthy list of injured defensemen on Long Island, Ray was called up for 14 games. He acquitted himself well, playing his regular shift and on power plays. His passing skill was
quite evident as he collected 9 assists in the 14 games. He also finished with an even plus/minus. Due to his speed and puck skills, Butch Goring even used Ray at left wing for a short time.

Unable to come to terms with the Islanders on a new contract for the 2000-2001 season, Ray took his considerable skills to Finland. He ended up playing 22 games for HIFK Helsinki and 24 games for Jokerit. Read more»

Canada captures gold at Six Nations U-18 Cup

by Jeff Arnim
on

The Canadian under-18 squad did not just beat the Russians in their quest for gold at the Six Nations U-18 Cup on Sunday, they humiliated them in a 9-4 shellacking that gave the red and white their eighth gold medal in the 11 years of the summer tournament.

The team was led by Rick Nash (London, OHL), who not only scored a hat trick, but added a pair of assists as well to finish the tournament with nine points in five games. In addition to Nash, Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Chicoutimi, QMJHL) and Alex Leavitt (Notre Dame, SJHL) added single goals in the first period to put Canada up 3-2 after one.

Russia added a pair of second period goals, but Canada responded with three of their own, one each by Nash, Maxime Talbot (Hull, QMJHL), and Tim Brent (Toronto, OHL). The final frame of the contest belonged to Canada, as Bouchard, Nash, and the Red Deer Rebels’ Derek Meech each added goals to round out the scoring.

Jarret Lukin also added an assist on Leavitt’s goal in the first period.

Maxime Daigneault (Val d’Or, QMJHL) stopped 26 of 30 Russian shots in the winning effort.

Russia’s Nikolai Zherdev posted a hat trick in the loss. Vladislav Evseev posted the other tally for the team.

Read more»

Which young Ducks are close to the pond?

by Jamie Randolph
on

Let’s take a look and see which ducks prospects have a chance at sticking with the big club this year.

Maxim Balmochnykh: LW-Cincinnati(AHL)- 65GP -6G -9A -15Pts

Maxim is a player that would have already been in the NHL if he had a proper work ethic. Maxim is at crossroads, two years ago he was being compared to Pavel Bure, now he can’t even score in the AHL. This is Maxim’s last chance and i’m betting he makes the most of it but I could be wrong. Flip a coin.
Prediction: AHL-NHL

Ilja Bryzgalov: G-Togliatti(Rus)34GP – 0.912 SP% -1.87GAA

Ilja has all the tools to be an impact rookie this year, the only problem is that the the ducks are set in goal with Steve Shields and J.s Giguere. Unless Shields or Giguere are injured for a long period of time Bryzgalov will probably play in the AHL this year.
Prediction:AHL

Stanislav Chistov:RW Avangard Omsk (RUS) 24GP – 4G -7A – 11Pts

Chistov could produce in the NHL this season but it would be a wise move to give the 18 year old another year of development. I think Chistov would profit most playing in the AHL but he will most likely end up staying in Russia for another season.
Prediction: Russia

Jonathan Hedstrom:RW Lulea (SWE) 46GP – 9G – 19A -28Pts

Jonathan needs to come to north america and make the transition to our style of play, although it shouldn’t be difficult because he plays a physical style of hockey. Will probably stay in Sweden for another season. Read more»

The Poni Express

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on

There were more than a couple of candidates for promotion on the Baby Buds last season as injury call-ups when one of the big boys went down at the ACC. Adam Mair (since traded to the Los Angeles Kings), Donald Maclean, Jeff Farkas, Mikael Hakansson (since returned to Djurgarten in the SEL), even Alyn McCauley (who actually did make the playoff roster) all had more experience than Alexei Ponikarovsky at the pro level. Nonetheless when the dust cleared it was the big Ukranian who played more NHL games with Toronto than any of them by the campaign’s end with 22. While it is true his stats didn’t overwhelm anyone, it can also be said that playing in the bottom half of the forward rotation, mostly on the fourth line, didn’t help matters any. However, there is much more to any hockey player than statistics and #39 showed in his limited trial that he could be at least Adam Mair’s equal in a checking role (thus opening the door for that transaction).

Ponikarovsky’s game starts with his size 6’4″ 210 pounds and mobility which is above average for his measurements. He uses his big frame not so much to bang and crash the way, say, a Darcy Tucker would, but more in a shielding manner ala Mats Sundin. On more than a few occasions the Leaf farmhand demonstrated he could make himself an imposing obstacle in the corners when others went fishing for the puck. He was simply to big to splatter and too quick to get an angle on. He also showed a willingness to hustle back and take a man after a turnover deep in the offensive zone which is imperative in the Leafs transition offense. Wha Read more»

World Junior Cup: Czech Republic-Russia game recap

by Robert Neuhauser
on
The Czech Republic-Russia game of the World Junior Cup promised to be a very exciting battle.
The Czech Republic has a very strong 1984 birthyear concerning hockey players and they met the
always strong Russians. It was obvious that the game won’t be a hard-hitting contest but a
game full of speed and skill. The Czech lineup boasted lots of players with NHL potential, like
goaltenders Lukas Mensator, who was the starter of the game and Lukas Musil, defensemen Ondrej
Nemec, Martin Cizek or Marek Chvatal. But the brightest gems were on the offense. Jakub
Langhammer, Jakub Klepis and Jakub Koreis are serious 2002 prospects, while captain Milan
Michalek is 2003 and youngster Rostislav Olesz 2004 eligible.

The Russians build every year a very strong competitive squad with some great individuals.
In the 1984 birthyear those are the likes of defenseman Anton Babchuk, who already played at
the 2001 Under-18 WJC, Kirill Stepanov and some really great offensive prospects. Those involve
top prospects Vladislav Evseev, Dmitri Kazionov, Evgeni Isakov, Dmitri Korneev, Igor Ignatouchkin,
and of course 2003 star prospect Nikolai Zherdev. Simply a very tough opponent for the
Czechs to beat.

Immediately after the begginning of the game the Czech line had a strong first shift, as Milan
Michalek passed a nice pass on the tape of Jakub Koreis, but Kirill Stepanov blocked his wrist
shot. In the first minutes of the game the Czechs tried to put the Czechs under some pressure
and eventually score the leading goal. Rostislav Olesz, even if a late 1985 birthyear, show Read more»

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