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.

 

Michael Kolarz: A more distant future of hockey

by Robert Neuhauser
on
Michael Kolarz was born in the Czech city of Havirov, a city near Ostrava, where hockey is
represented by the Vitkovice team. But he didn’t think of a hockey career since the very
beginning of his life. Michael was born in a family of a soccer player and no wonder that
his dad brought him to the game of soccer as soon as the little Michael could walk. He bought
him a ball, but also didn’t forget the most popular Czech sport – hockey. Michael stood at
his skates for the first time when he was three. He liked the sport and no wonder that he
began to attend the practices of the local team’s smallest kids cathegory. Besides soccer,
of course.

There in Havirov his first coach was the respected expert Jan Danecek. Danecek is now an
assistant coach for the Trinec midgets and his son Jan is the youngest player ever to play
in the senior Extraleague. Coach Danecek gave Michael the first tips and taught him the
basics of hockey. As a tall kid, Michael was sent to the defenseman position soon and he
had no trouble there. He seemed to like the blueliner’s role and he soon began to make
use of his talent and dominate the play. The forwards had a very tough time against Michael,
who soon began to play with older kids. He was born with a great ability to read the plays
and a nice hockey sense. He is very mobile, thanks also to the soccer practices.

As Michael grew in age, Extraleague teams, looking for a boost in their pipeline of youngest
kids’ prospects, began to be interested in Michael. The most logical way for him was a
transition to the Vitkovice team. S Read more»

Wellwood’s New Start

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on

There is little doubt that the Leaf 5th round selection in the 2001 draft Kyle Wellwood hasn’t been inking up the scoresheets this year like he did in 2000-2001 when he won the OHL scoring title with 118 points. A quick look at his points per game average, down .30 from a year ago, will tell you that much. To be sure, there was a shoulder injury to deal with earlier in the campaign and the timing to be found after coming back from it but there was also the criticism that without Branko Radivojevic and Randy Rowe putting the biscuit in the net he never would have piled up all of those assists.

Now comes a completely different challenge. Wellwood is going from a high octane ‘who cares about defense’ brand of hockey in Belleville that has them 4 points out of first place in the OHL’s East Division to distinctly regular ‘how do we light this thing anyway?’ team in Windsor pulling up the rear in the West Division two points south of London. Jason Spezza is gone and many have Dallas first rounder Steve Ott heading out on the next bus seeing as he may well end up playing at least AHL hockey next year. Should the Spits deal ‘The Rat’ for youth before the upcoming trade deadline, things will look very different indeed for Wellwood’s new team.

It’s possible they still could squeak into the playoffs on the back of goaltender Ryan Aschaber who has shown in the past that he is capable of carrying a team but what is really going to tell the tale is the new #97. The local kid, particularly if Ott is moved, is going to have to be the big wheel on offense down the stret Read more»

Kootenay Not Selling the Farm

by Jeff Bromley
on

If the sign on the door clearly says ‘not for sale’, then the fence around the place is always in need of some fixin’.

That, in a nutshell, is the prevalent attitude emitting from the offices of the Kootenay ICE as the club heeds the WHL’s trading deadline January 14. Like a child drawing up his letter to St. Nick, ICE G.M. has a list of players that could help his hockey club that he’s checked twice. But then again, so does every other G.M. in the WHL.

“If I had a wish list like everyone else in this league I’d like to get another defensemen,” said Chynoweth before he and his club left on a weekend road trip to the Prairies. “But we’re not alone. You can ask anyone in our league, they’re always looking for a defensemen but that would be our first choice.” Chynoweth also added that possibly a forward would be a nice addition but then again, so would most clubs.

Save for a one or two weaker members of the league and the expansion Vancouver Giants, the theme of parity among almost all WHL clubs is paramount this season. With parity comes hope, hope that any of the playoff bound clubs can make some noise in the post-season.

It also makes for a somewhat dull trading deadline segue way with transactions between teams kept at a premium.

“I think there’s a lot of parity in this league,” said Chynoweth. “That’s the word – parity – and that means there’s a lot of good hockey teams.”

“I don’t think that there’s any one good hockey team like last year where Red Deer was the best team and stuck out so far ahead of everybody. This year there’s Read more»

Milroy’s Dominance Starting to Shine Through

by Jeff Bromley
on

It’s no secret that Duncan Milroy was surprised to find himself traded to the Kootenay ICE last month. It’s also no secret that Milroy is considered something of a dominant offensive force in the WHL. Being a 2001 second round NHL draft pick (37th overall) of the Montreal Canadiens will do that for you. Then for a player walk into a new town for a new team and pick up where he left off on his old club wouldn’t be too far out of the realm of possibility, would it? Perhaps, at least, at first. Filling the shoes of a popular team leader would be daunting by any means but one that actually brought some young fans to tears at the news of the trade? Talk about being behind the eightball.

Period of adjustment, new surroundings, post-trade slump – call it what you will – Milroy was experiencing it, and then some. No pressure or anything. Just replace a player that was not only captain but a tireless worker, played in almost every situation and was viewed upon, rightly or wrongly, as almost never making a mistake.

Duncan Milroy had his work cut out for him.

A month after the trade, Milroy is starting to not only feel more comfortable in the colors of the Kootenay ICE but look more comfortable on the ice too. After last weekend’s three-game set which saw the Edmonton native amass five points and be a factor in every contest, the contribution requested of Milroy is becoming somewhat more clear. And Milroy is eager to respond. “I think I’ve just been playing my game, being myself,” said Milroy after Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Hitmen. “I think I fit in with the tea Read more»

WJC: Interview with Lars Jonsson

by pbadmin
on

HF: Sweden just finished the game vs Slovakia 2-2 after being down 2-0 later in the third period. What is your view on the match?

Jonsson: We had most of the play but couldn’t score. I’m glad that in the end we could finally convert the many power plays we had.

HF: What about the remainder of the tournament for Team Sweden?

Jonsson: Well with the knockout system there in the quarter finals you have to take it game by game there. My hopes are for a medal, but one bad game and you’re out of contention. First though we face the Czech Republic in our final group match and that will be an important game for us.

HF: What are your personal goals at this WJC?

Jonsson: I try to play as good as I can of course. I know there are a lot of scouts here, but I am here to perform with Sweden, not just for myself. I want to help the team as much as possible.

HF: How do you see your future? Will you move to North America soon?

Jonsson: I don’t know. I take it year by year and see how things go. I don’t think about it too much really.

HF: Your club team, Leksands, has many players in this WJC squad. How come they always have such good young players?

Jonsson: Hard to tell. Leksands is a popular place to go to for kids. They take good care of you with school as well.

HF: Leksands is currently playing in the 2nd league. Will you promote to the Elitserien this year?

Jonsson: That is our big goal for sure. I really hope we succeed.

HF: However if Leksands won’t promote, will the playe Read more»

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