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.

 

Vitali Yeremeyev Arrives On Broadway

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The Rangers announced today that goalie Mike Richter will be sidelined for the Rangers next 2 games (23rd vs. Nashville and 27th vs. Carolina) because of an undisclosed injury, and Vitali Yeremeyev has been recalled from Hartford. In my opinion, Richter is not injured at all, but just needs some rest. The Rangers were likely to rest him in their next 2 games anyway, but I guess they decided to bring up Yeremeyev to get a look at him over the next week or so.

Yeremeyev, a 25 year old Kazakhstanian goalie who was selected in the 11th round of the 1994 Draft, has played OUTSTANDING with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 11 games this season. Yeremeyev has posted a 1.65 GAA, .951 Save%, and 2 shutouts. The ironic thing is that this is from someone who started the season struggling with the ECHL Charlotte Checkers (Jason Labarbera is the starter there now), as he posted a 4.23 GAA in only 5 games.

Playing excellent is not anything new to Yeremeyev however. In his last 3 years in Russia, Yeremeyev posted superb numbers. He had a 1.23 GAA with 7 shutouts in 26 games in 99/00 with Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Elite League. The two previous years before that he posted a 1.80 GAA in 19 games with CSKA Moscow of the Russian Tier 2 league, and a 1.16 GAA with Yaroslavl of the Elite league in 16 games. Yeremeyev got teared apart on the National stage though. He was the starter for team Kazakhstan in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He allowed 28 goals in 7 games, en route to a 5.76 GAA. Yeremeyev can’t be blamed for most of the goals however, as Kazakhstan is not known Read more»

Hockey’s Future Interview with Serge Payer

by Mark Fischel
on

Hockey’s Future Interview with Serge Payer

Nearing the halfway point of this NHL season, one of the surprises has been the abysmal start of the Florida Panthers. While there are many reasons for this poor outing so far, most notably a startling amount of injuries that have decimated the team and have never given the Panthers a full roster of healthy players.

Maybe one of the small benefits of a team stricken with this many injuries, is the chance for the unexpected. Having a player get called up to fill in sometimes gives the coaches, management, and most importantly, the fans the opportunity to see a player exceed all expectations and beat all the odds of making an impact in the NHL.

One of these players is Serge Payer. Signed as a free agent in late 1997, Serge was expected to spend time this year in the UHL, but an incredibly strong NHL pre-season turned the heads of Panther brass and Serge was sent to start his professional career in the AHL Louisville Panthers.

What is remarkable is the road that Serge took to get to this point in his early career in the NHL. Jennifer McCarthy of Hockey’s Future AHL report recently did a profile of Serge on her web-site http://www.pantherbytes.com/louisville.html
which is a highly recommended read, as well as a good source for Louisville Panther news.

Recently, I got the chance to sit down with Serge Payer on the day of the Colorado game, and it was apparent during the interview that Serge is in this “I still can’t believe” phase over the realization that he Read more»

IHL All-Star Team

by Parker Neale
on
The IHL’s best will converge on Chicago on January 15th to take on the defending Turner Cup Champion Chicago Wolves. The all-star roster was announced last week with a breakdown of three players from each of Grand Rapids, Manitoba, Cleveland and Orlando. Milwaukee and Detroit were able to submit two players apiece. And, Houston, Cincinnati, Utah and Kansas City round out the selections with one participant each.

In goal for the all-stars are Frederic Chabot of Houston, Mike Fountain of Grand Rapids and Johan Hedberg of Manitoba. Chabot has been solid for a Houston squad that has been quite inconsistent so far this season. Fountain has been the catalyst in the Griffins success and leads the league in GAA and wins. Hedberg has been dynamite for the Moose and amongst the league leaders in wins throughout the year.

Up front are Peter Bartos and Christian Matte of Cleveland, Mark Beaufait and Yves Sarault of Orlando, Martin Cibak and Nils Ekman of Detroit, Vadim Sharifijanov of Kansas City, Todd White of Grand Rapids, Brian Felsner of Cincinnati and John Purves of Utah. Bartos has been an offensive gem with the Lumberjacks and Minnesota during his call-ups while Matte has made a successful transition from the AHL to the IHL and leads the league in goals with 16. Beaufait gets the nod despite missing a fair amount of time with an injury due to his stellar offence in the early going. Yves Sarault has been consistent and earned a recent call-up to Atlanta. Cibak and Ekman are both young, talented aces for the Vipers and lead their attack. Sha Read more»

USA WORLD JUNIOR PREVIEW

by Erik Freeman
on
With the number one draft pick from the 2000 NHL Entry draft, Ricky DiePietro between the pipes, Team USA will have a building block for this year’s club. Six other returnees are also back for a run at the gold. We will breakdown the offense, defense, and goaltending on this year’s team.

Offense: Five players are back to lead the offensive attack. Andy Hilbert from the University of Michigan is back for his 3rd tournament and must provide leadership and scoring. Jeff Taffe, Team USA’s leading scorer from last season, is also back. Look for him and fellow Minnesotan Troy Riddle to play together. They have worked very well together throughout the year for the Golden Gophers. Other returnees include Connor Dunlop, Brett Nowak, and John Sabo. R.J. Umberger is a newcomer to watch for. Excellent play at Ohio State earned Umberger the number one ranking by the CSB among college eligible players for April’s NHL Entry Draft. Troy Riddle will be counted on to use his wicked speed and finesse to antagonize opponents. Other forwards who will be looked upon to score are Jon DiSalvatore, Marc Cavosie and Kris Vernarsky. This group of forwards should be able to skate with the high flying Czech’s and Swede’s in Group A. Team USA wants to play an up tempo style of play, which shouldn’t be a problem with the speed this team possesses.

Defense: Anchoring the defensive unit is first round draft pick in last year’s draft, Ron Hainsey, from the University of Mass-Lowell. Having only one player with experience at the World Juniors some teams cou Read more»

Rangers Prospect Update

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

Week Of 12/10 to 12/20

Player         Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Pavel Brendl  Calgary   WHL    26  29  23  52   24   21

This Week: No Games Played
Notes: Will represent the Czech Republic in the upcoming World Junior Championships.


Player           Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Jamie Lundmark  Seattle   WHL    20  17  17   34  19  +3

This Week: 1 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 2 P, 0 PIM, +2
Notes: Playing for team Canada at the WJC. Has been Seattle’s best player since the trade.


Player         Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Filip Novak   Regina    WHL    34  12  22  34   38   12

This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, 5 PIM, +1
Notes: Would be playing for the Czech Republic in the WJC, but because of past problems with his former Czech team, they refused to let him play in the tournament. He currently has 5 more goals this year through 34 games than he had all last year in 47 games. He also is only 5 points away from matching last seasons totals. His play has really improved from last season.


Player              Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Garret Bembridge  Saskatoon  WHL    35  24  20  44   12  -13

This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 2 P, 0 PIM, -6 Read more»