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.

 

Rangers Roster Set…. For Now!

by Evan Andriopoulos
on
With the trimming of the roster yesterday, the 2000 Edition NY Rangers appear to be set as expected. With the exception of Swede Johan Witehall, enforcer Dale Purinton, Jason Doig, Mike Mottau, and new short term back up goalie Jason Labarbera, the Rangers team was set the day Mark Messier and Vladirmir Malakhov signed.

Lines:

What the final lines will be is as good a guess as any chemist could levy. The center slot is filled with Mark Messier, Petr Nedved, Mike York and Tim Taylor. Messier will probably be side anchored by Theo Fleury and Adam Graves, Nedved with countrymen Jan Hlavac and Radek Dvorak, followed by the third line of Mike York, John MacLean and probably Valeri Kamensky. The fourth line will likely consist of oft-injured Tim Taylor – Sandy McCarthy/Johan Witehall and Eric Lacroix.

Analysis:

If the Messier line can produce 20-30 goals each, which they are capable of, they will be an effective line. The questions are the heart of Fleury, the back of Graves and the age of Messier. Simply asked, difficult to answer. Time will tell.

The Czechmates are a fast moving, puck control, prototypical European unit that has one issue to concern themselves with… their backs. Can Dale Purinton effectively scare off other teams hitmen? Will a fourth line wing in McCarthy be enough to keep these Czechmates safe? Questions all to be answered. Look for close to 30 goals from Nedved and Hlavac and Dvorak somewhat less as he has had some trouble in finding his “niche”.
Read more»

UMass Lowell Riverhawks 2000/2001 Season Preview

by Monty Rodrigues
on
After a disappointing 1999/2000 season, the Riverhawks begin another
season in the lower tier of Hockey East. The Hawks hope to end a two
year streak in which they haven’t made the Hockey East semifinals, after
having done it 7 years in a row. The young team is slowly starting to
age, as the large recruiting classes of the last three years head
further away from their rookie years. This is the first year in a while
that UML has a majority of players that are upperclassmen. Lowell
finished a Hockey East worst 5-16-3 in league play (9-22-3 overall) last
year, returns 20 lettermen after losing just 4 seniors last year. Gone
from a team that averaged less than 3 goals per game last year are
forwards Chris Bell (9 goals, 21 assists, 30 points), John Campbell
(4-13-17) and Craig Brown (4-5-9) along with defenseman Kevin Bertram
(10-8-18). Five other players left with eligibility still left,
including forwards Jeremy Kyte, Mark Fontas and Mike Sgroi (both of whom
left during the season last year), defenseman Andy Wozniewski and
goaltender Dan Weinreib. The Riverhawks bring in what for them is a small
class this year, including three forwards, a defenseman and one
goaltender. For a change, Lowell brings back a lot of experience, with
only 4 seniors, but 10 juniors and 6 sophomores as well. The best news
for the team was that sophomore blue liner Ron Hainsey would return to
the team this year, even though he was the first ever Lowell player Read more»

NTDP U18′s Stun Michigan State

by Erik Freeman
on
Who would have figured this? After struggling in early USHL action, no one figured the U18 NTDP team would actually have a shot at beating CCHA powerhouse Michigan State. Led by Barry Tallackson with 2 goals, the U18′s played a great game. Tallackson, who’s been on a tear with 5 goals in the last 2 games, is playing extremely well. Look for many recruiters to be calling and trying to sign him up before the early signing period ends. Bryan Miller, a Boston University recruit, took the puck off the draw and fired home the game winner. Brian McConnell assisted on the play. Other goal scorers include Eric Nystrom, Lee Falardeau, and Matt Gens. Dwight Helminen had 2 helpers. Travis Weber played stellar between the pipes making 39 saves. Weber, another top recruit still unsigned is looking better and better as the season progresses. Look for an annoucement from him in the near future as he has a few official visits lined up. Eric Nystrom had to say this about the game, “We had a great team effort and everyone played hard. This is a huge win for us and a huge confidence builder. As for Travis Weber, he played one heckuva game for us and made many tough saves.” Even though this is just an exhibition game it still was a huge win for NTDP as a whole. The U18′s continue with college competition as they face Western Michigan Saturday night.

Jr Pens Select Final Roster, Demote Veterans

by Erik Johnson
on

Pens set roster for opening night on Thursday at home against the Philadelphia Phantoms; send 6 to Wheeling

Among the cuts were veteran forwards Boris Protsenko and Alexei Kolkunov and goalie Craig Hiller. Others demoted were defensemen Mark Moore, Chris Newans, and Doug Schmidt.

Neither Protsenko or Kolkunov were impressive in camp and were demoted in favor of tryout candidates Jim Leger and Steve Parsons. Hillier had an impressive performance in his only appearance during the exhibition season, but is still paying for his dismal performance last year.

The Pens roster now stands at 22, which includes injured forward Martin Sonnenberg and injured defenseman Trent Cull.


Forwards:

Greg Crozier, Dylan Gyori, Tom Kostopoulos, Jim Leger,
Jason MacDonald, Alexandre Mathieu, Eric Meloche, Steve Parsons, Toby
Petersen, Martin Sonnenberg, Bill Tibbetts, Darcy Verot,

Alexander Zevakhin


Defensemen:

Brendan Buckley, Sven Butenschon, Trent Cull, Andrew Ference, Chris Kelleher, John Slaney, JP Soucy


Goalies:

Joel Laing, Mark Scally

- Goalie Joel Laing was named the starting goalie for Thursday night’s opener.

- Scally, Soucy, Leger, and Parsons were signed to 25 game contracts

Tracking A Phenom – First Installment

by Bob Chery
on

A harbinger of things to come?

Returning to the rinks from a rumored summer to begin mapping
the odysseys of this year’s NHL Draft hopefuls, it didn’t take
long for 17 year-old Mississauga Ice Dogs Captain Jason Spezza
to make an enormous impression.

One period to be exact.

When the dust had settled, the Ice Dogs found themselves leading
the Sudbury Wolves 5-2 after 20 minutes, and the challenge in
describing Spezza’s play is to not become too redundant with the
superlatives.

The Dogs were staked to an early two-goal lead thanks to a
dizzying array of skills put on display by Spezza as he set up
the first three Mississauga goals. His artistry with the puck
included undressing defencemen and putting himself into the
clear for a break-away, although he was stopped by goaltender
Jason Brown. With puck in tow, he was constantly finding and
creating open-ice for himself and for his teammates to whom he
would feed short, deft passes or medium-range passes that would
hit the tape, all the while displaying great vision,
anticipation, and hockey sense.

With the Dogs on a power-play and the face-off outside the
Sudbury blueline, Spezza eschewed the usual drawing back of the
puck and instead shot the puck forward into the corner of the
Sudbury zone. The Wolves defencemen had by this time shown an
alarming propensity for coughing up and turning over the puck in Read more»