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.

 

The Blake Situation- Do or Die?

by Tony Calfo
on
It is a situation that seems to be accepted as commonplace. A star player approaches the end of his contract and the former team is poised to trade him before he leaves for nothing. Ray Borque, Mark McGwire, Wayne Gretzky and Mike Piazza are a few of the sports legends that have been in this situation and now Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings is the latest player to join the list. Like the others, Blake has postured himself as caring so much about the organization that he is going to sacrifice himself by taking a trade to another team so the Kings will have something to show for all his years of service. Blake’s cavalier act will not include signing an extension though, virtually eliminating any chance of acquiring any quality players in return. I for one am tired of this trend that holds franchises hostage for the wishes of one player. Despite these feelings, history has shown that the Kings need to sign Rob Blake.

Los Angeles has seen two of these exact situations. Wayne Gretzky left the Kings for St. Louis and the Kings made what was considered a blockbuster trade for his services. Prospects Roman Vopat, Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif and a first round pick, who became Matt Zhultek, came to the Kings for the Great One. Only third line winger Craig Johnson remains, with no remaining compensation for any of the other players. A third line center for the greatest player in NHL history is not what franchises are built on. The Los Angeles Dodgers also traded Mike Piazza and have seen the franchise stagger ever since.

The Kings claim the mone Read more»

Czech Republic WJC roster, schedule

by Robert Neuhauser
on
On Saturday, December, 23rd, the Czech Under-20 team left for Moscow to defend the championship title, which he won last season. Some of the players from that team are already NHLers, some play in the Extraleague and three of them returned to compete for gold once again. Tomas Duba, Michal Sivek and Vaclav Nedorost dream of being two-time WJC champions. When you look at this years squad, you can see that their dreams may not be impossible.

The young Czechs played two exhibition games before the WJC. In the first game, they defeated Pardubice junior team 6:2, when Vaclav Nedorost was the first star with 2 goals. The CHL players already made their presence felt when Radim Vrbata and Martin Erat scored their markers, Pavel Brendl was left off the score sheet. The second game was a game against a mixed team of Pardubice juniors and seniors. Pavel Brendl scored in the first minute of this game and Radim Vrbata gave the Czech juniors a two-goal lead five minutes later, but the game turned out to be a 3:3 tie. The Under-20 team looked quite in shape in those games, CHL scorers kept their pace and the defensemen looked ready for the big time. Only one thing I worry about is that the Czechs have no exhibition game right before the WJC starts and have to wait for their first game on December, 26th, and spend time only with practices. And let’s take a look who will spend that time!

Goaltenders

Tomas Duba (HC Sparta Praha) – Tomas was the second goalie behind Zdenek Smid last year and this experience will help him a lot as he’ll be the starter this y Read more»

Pens Junior Prospects Update

by Erik Johnson
on

Prospect Note: 2 Pens prospects will be participating in the 2001 WJC tournament starting on Tuesday. Konstantin Koltsov for Belarus and Tomas Skvardilo for Slovakia. As well, Pittsburgher RJ Umberger is on the US team.


Junior Player of the Year 12/4 thru 12/10

Goalies:


Peter Hamerlik (Kingston)- 3 games, 2-1, 2.33 GAA, .923 SvPct


Defensemen:

Jeremy Van Hoof (Ottawa)- 1 game, 2 PIM
Darcy Robinson (Saskatoon)- 3 games
David Koci (Prince George)- 1 game, 2 PIM


Forwards:

Joel Scherban (London)- 2 games, 1 goal, 3 assists
Tomas Skvardilo (Kingston)- 3 games, 2 PIM
Steve Crampton (Moose Jaw)- 3 games, 2 assists, 6 PIM
Shane Endicott (Seattle)- 3 games, 3 goals, 2 assists
Jan Fadrny (Kelowna)- 2 games, 1 goal, 2 assists
Michel Ouellet (Rimouski)- 3 games


Player of the Week

1st: Endicott
2nd: Hamerlik
3rd: Scherban


Standings

Ouellet 30 (4)
Hamerlik 23 (2)
Endicott 14 (2)
Fadrny 13 (2)
Crampton 10 (1)
Skvardilo 4
Scherban 3
Robinson 1



Junior Player of the Year 12/11 thru 12/17

Goalies:


Peter Hamerlik (Kingston)- 1 game, 0-1 16.36 GAA, .571 SvPct (11 mins played)(attending Slovak WJC tryout camp)


Defensemen:

Jeremy Van Hoof (Ottawa)- 3 games, 1 assist
Darcy Robinson (Saskatoon)- 1 game
David Koci (Prince George)- 4 games, 4 PIM


Forwards:
Read more»

Jamie Lundmark Impresses Again

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

Jamie Lundmark had another excellent effort this afternoon, notching 2 assists in Canada’s 5-1 win over Sweden in the second of two exhibition games played between the two teams.

Lundmark has been centering a line with Dany Heatley, the 2nd overall pick in the 2000 draft, and Mike Cammalleri, who is eligible for the upcoming 2001 draft. The line has been using it’s great speed and great forecheck to win the loose puck battles and turn quickly to offense. Lundmark has played the role of set-up man, assisting on 5 of Canada’s 11 goals in the two games against Sweden. Not many people have heard of Cammalleri, who plays US College Hockey and therefore does not get the attention that Canadian Major Junior stars do. Scouts say Cammalleri should be available towards the late 1st/early 2nd round of the 2001 draft, and I would love it if the Rangers select him. However, so far his strong play have caught a lot of scout’s attention.

On another note, the goaltender for team Sweden happened to be Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers 7th round selection in the 2000 Entry Draft. Lundqvist has been given the tag “will be the best goalie to come out of Sweden”, but this season he has not been playing like it. In my opinion, he ranks 3rd as of now in Sweden behind Mikael Tellqvist (Toronto draftee) and other Rangers draftee Johan Asplund. As for the game, Lundqvist was shaky. He allowed 3 goals on Canada’s only 3 shots in the first period. He was not dominant, and hasn’t been at all this season. He started off the year with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, but when they signed Pat Read more»

USHL Update – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

by Jason Shaner
on
The 2000-2001 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are a much improved yet very similar team from last year. The RoughRiders, who are in their second year of existence after being moved from Mason City, Ia, have made a name for themselves in the USHL as being an aggressive, gritty team who always plays 110%. Last year Cedar Rapids was given the task of playing the first half of the season on the road where they did poorly. As the second half began they served notice that they were becoming a good hockey team. This year the RoughRiders got a “normal” schedule and after a rocky start are playing arguably some of the best hockey in the USHL right now. Cedar Rapids is tied for 2nd place with Waterloo in the Eastern Division. In their last 10 games they have had some impressive wins including two road wins at perennial power Des Moines and a home victory over the league favorite Lincoln Stars. Here is a breakdown on some of the individual leaders for the RoughRiders through the current Christmas break.

Offense - The RoughRiders are not well known for their offense but they do have a couple of stars. Darren Partch is the leader offensively and is one of the league leaders in the scoring. Partch has 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points and leads the team in scoring. Partch is the kind of player who is in the right place at the right time and can kill you with precision passing. Gerry Hickey returned to Cedar Rapids after a spectacular season last year. So far Hickey has 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points but he has an astonishing 120 penalty minutes. Tha Read more»