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.

 

Kings Draftee Yannick Lehoux

by John Riche
on
This article will feature Yannick Lehoux who plays for the Baie Commeau Drakkars of the QMJHL. Yannick was a third round draft pick (86th overall in last year’s draft) of the Los Angeles Kings and is turning into quite a steal. Let me tell you this kid is awesome, last year he had 92 points in 67 games (31 goals and 61 assists), but this year he has really turned it up a notch. In 48 games played he has 43 goals and 43 assists for 86 points and his team is in 1st place in it’s division and 4th overall in the league. I watched him play against the Quebec Remparts and he was everywhere on the ice. His best assets are his playmaking skills and his vision on the ice, although he isn’t a bad scorer either as his goal totals would suggest. I heard Yannick saying in an interview that his work ethic and better defensive play were due to the fact that he had learned so much from the likes of Rob Blake and Zigmund Palffy during his first NHL training camp. He’s now a better leader and a more complete player. The only knock on this kid is his size, he needs to get much stronger and add at least twenty pounds if he hopes on becoming a star in the NHL. He’s listed at 6 feet and 184 lbs. which is big enough for juniors but not quite enough for the pros. At 18 years of age though he is definitely on the right track. Give the kings scouting staff credit for drafting him, hopefully they will handle him properly, unlike Pavel Rosa.

BCHLers College Bound

by Glenn Fugate
on
With 20 games left in the BCHL season 24 players are committed to college or university, in the U.S. I think you can look for this number to increase as I look at some of the players around the league who haven`t committed yet.One player who made his decision the other day was 1999/2000 co-BCHL rookie of the year John Morlang of the Prince George Spruce Kings. Morlang has decided to attend Alaska Fairbanks next season. Not bad for a kid who almost hung up the blades a few years ago. Morlang started the season in the training camp of the Portland Winter Hawks(WHL) but left after deciding to go after a scholarship instead. According to my sources Morlang was a cinch to make the team. Morlang is a speedy forward who seems to be moving faster with the puck than without it. With pretty good size at 6’2″-195 Morlang is receiving some NHL attention.Columbus and the Boston Bruins have contacted him so far. The NHL likes big forwards who can skate, and Morlang fits that mould.The Spruce Kings often use Morlang on the point during the power plays which is another asset of this player. Look for John Morlang`s name in the 2001 NHL draft. Whether he is drafted or not. After college,this player will play pro hockey somewhere.

I attended a game featuring the Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL) recently. The Capitals are coached by former NHLer Greg C. Adams (not to be confused with current player Greg Adams). Looking good for the Capitals was winger Derek Campbell. Campbell is currently at a point a game with over 100 PIMS. This player has a great stride. The word I think Read more»

Finland’s WJC success helps players

by Mikko Vuori
on

Edmonton prospect Jani Rita played surprisingly good.
Eight goals in the tournament gives a big boost to his
confidence. Rita has 2+2 in 3 games for Jokerit after
the WJC. Before the tournament he had 5 points in
27 games.

2001 eligibles Tuomo Ruutu and Mikko Koivu
were centering two top lines. These two players are considered the future leaders of Finnish hockey. Another 2001 eligible forward Tuomas Pihlman wasn’t able to get any points, but he isn’t supposed to be a scorer.

Ville Hämäläinen was the biggest surprise. Second line
winger had a very good tournament. Hämäläinen had 7 points in seven games. Hämäläinen is still undrafted, but he might get picked in next draft.

Another Edmonton prospect Tony Salmelainen missed
last season with injuries. Salmelainen is a small player, but he really has good speed. He was third in team’s scoring.

Tuukka Mäntylä (5 points +8) took the leading role
in defense. Mäntylä hasn’t been drafted yet, mainly
because of his size (5’9). Mäntylä is good with the
puck and is also good skater. Mäntyla was selected to
play for Team Finland in Swedish Hockey Games.

Arto Tukio’s injury during team’s carting session
really hurt Finnish defense. Markku Paukkanen
was able to step up. He had two points and was a +7
in the tournament.

Ari Ahonen had a good tournament. He outgoaled
Maxim Oullette in the semifinal game. In the finals he
let in two goals, but he can’t be blamed for them.
The Devils wanted Ahonen to play for Albany this
season but he stayed in Finland. He should Read more»

Bruins prospect Donald Choukalos

by Michael Karlstrom
on

Donald Choukalos is backstopping his way to a career year as the starting goaltender for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. With 39 games under his belt, he’s posted a respectable 3.44 GAA and 2 shutouts. Choukalos admits he got off to a bit of a slow start to this season, but part of that has to be attributed to the team he had in front of him. With the recent additions the Regina Pats have made to bolster their lineup in anticipation of hosting the Memorial Cup this year, and with Choukalos’ own continuing development, he is positioned to have a golden opportunity to really shine in this major tournament and get his stock soaring as he battles to move his way up the Bruins depth chart in the nets.

Choukalos was the Bruins sixth choice, picked 179th overall in the 1999 draft. When asked for the highlight of his career so far, he didn’t need to think long before answering “just getting drafted.” In a way it was a bit of a surprise choice on the Bruins part in that they had just drafted OHL goaltender Seamus Kotyk with their previous pick and had drafted Andrew Raycroft the year before. Choukalos said he didn’t know that the Bruins were seriously interested in him, “they only talked to me once the day before the draft.” Perhaps it would have been just a little more of a dream come true if he had followed former Calgary Hitman teammate Brent Krahn to getting drafted by the Flames since he was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. It isn’t in the fates though for an NHL hopeful to always be able to play for the team he grew up chearing though.

Chouk Read more»

Wolves Shutout IHL All-Stars

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
The defending Turner Cup Champion Chicago Wolves took the IHL All-Stars by surprise Monday night, shutting out the All-Stars 4-0 before 11,131 at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. It was the first ever shutout in an IHL All-Star Game.

The Wolves got on the board late in the first period, when Steve Maltais took a feed from Steve Larouche and Robert Petrovickey at 18:01 and put it past All-Star netminder Mike Fountain. That would eventually be the game-winner as the All-Stars were not able to find the back of the net.

In the second period, Chicago again struck late, this time at 16:31 with a goal from Guy Larose. Also in the second, Wolves netminder Rick DiPietro made his return to the Wolves lineup, posting 10 saves on 10 shots. His efforts helped him earn the Bud Light Rising Star Award, which is annually awarded to the player who is making his first appearance at an IHL All-Star Game and contributes best to his team’s efforts.

The Wolves came away with two goals in the final stanza, as Kevin Brown scored early at 4:52 on a pass from Steve Larouche. That wouldn’t be the end of it for Larouche either, as he added his third point of the night, a goal, at 11:30 of the period. Maltais assisted on that goal, giving him the all-time lead in IHL All-Star scoring. With eight All-Star appearances, Maltais now has six goals and six assists. He passes Stan Drulia who had previously held the top spot with 11 points on 3 goals and 8 asssits. Maltais’ six goals also tie him for the most goals in IHL All-Star history.

With three points o Read more»

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