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.

 

Pavel Brendl: A Man Among Boys

by Brandon LeBourveau
on
Well, as we all know Pavel Brendl did not make the New York Rangers this
season and was sent back to Calgary of the WHL for another year in juniors.
Despite his unwillingness to go back to juniors and play with kids, Brendl
reported to the Hitmen anyway and he has been on fire since his return.

Brendl has 11 goals and 4 assists (15 points) in 6 games, which leads
the Hitmen in scoring. He is currently 4th in the WHL in goals, but if he
played in every game like the 3 players ahead of him (Konstanin Panov with
12, Layne Ulmer with 19, and Mike Comrie with 21), he would be the leading
scorer if he kept up this pace. The biggest highlight of his season so far
probably came a couple nights ago when he scorched Jamie Lundmark’s Moose Jaw
Warriors for 4 goals in the 3rd period to help the Hitmen to a 5-2 victory.
(However, Lundmark did not play in that game and has still not played a game
with the Warriors yet as he is sitting home waiting to be traded.) Even
though Brendl is starting off great with the Hitmen, lots of people
(including myself) are wondering if it was the right decision to send him
back to juniors..

I don’t know how much you can learn from dominating a league mostly made
up of kids 2-3 years younger than you night in and night out. I still believe
the Rangers made the wrong choice. They should have kept Brendl on the team
and let him get 3rd or 4th line ice time. Look what happened with Joe
Thornton in his rookie season. He spent the whole season on either the 3rd or
4th line, and got to Read more»

Juniors In Extraliga

by Daniel Kysel
on
New faces, more ice time, more regular players and several NHL
prospects. It is a leit-motive of this season. Due to the special model
of Slovak Elite league – Extraliga (no team will relegate) a lot of
young and gifted players could show their skills on senior level. We
could see about 30 juniors on Extraliga yet. Some of them play regularly
(10-13) and the other ones only from time to time.

HKM Zvolen has very strong roster and the juniors are in difficulties to
play on first team like in last season. Its juniors play only on the
farm (on Division 1) and junior teams. However young goalie Peter Sevela
(16-10-83, 5’11″ 149 lb, G) has recorded unusual curiosity. He has
played just several periods on Zvolen team while joined his team-mate
and the oldest player of Extraliga Robert Pukalovic. Robert was born in
Oct. 28, 1960 and Peter is 23 years younger.

Slovan Bratislava sticks to its traditions and omits junior players.
Just two kids got the chance to play in several games but usually only a
few shifts – Radoslav Sloboda (07-11-82, 6’2″ 195 lb, D) and Oliver
Maron (30-09-83, 5’11″ 160 lb, D).

SKP Poprad uses three juniors who play regularly. No doubt Tomas Surovy
(24-09-81, 6’1″ 191 lb, C) is the best Slovak junior playing in Europe.
Complete player, good hockey sense, very valuable in power plays as well
as in penalty killing games, solid skater, very strong on his skates,
good stickhandler, passer and scorer. He is pretty dangerous for
goalies. Lukas Hvila (30-11-81, 5’8″ 173 lb, RW/C), smallish winger is
pretty go Read more»

ICE snare two in historic Home opener weekend

by Jeff Bromley
on

W. P. Kinsella once wrote, “if you build it, they will come.” We built it and they came, in droves. In a scene reminiscent of an arena setting in Spokane or Calgary, the Kootenay ICE held their two inaugural home opening games this past weekend at Cranbrook’s brand new Recreational Complex and, to put it mildly, it was an unqualified success. Two consecutive sold-out crowds of 4301 were treated to two exciting and dramatic hockey games that seemed to play themselves out to an unofficial script that every hockey team opening a new home would be overjoyed to occur -wins. A 5-3 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday and a 4-3 nailbiter decision over the rival Calgary Hitmen on Saturday seemed to be icing on the cake for the many thousands of fans who took in the games over the weekend. “Incredible”, “fantastic” and “wow” were just some of the many superlatives mentioned by the visiting fans. “It doesn’t seem like were in Cranbrook” said visiting patron Tina White, “It feels like we’re in Calgary not Cranbrook, this place is really great”. For majority ICE owner Ed Chynoweth, the weekend was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. “It was certainly a tremendous weekend. Personally the building is just total outstanding. Everything about it is major league and to start it off with a pair of wins is an added bonus,” said Chynoweth. For Chynoweth, the opening of the Rec/Plea was the payoff for a lot of people, most importantly the fans of the Kootenay ICE, “I couldn’t help but think when I was out at center ice for the openi Read more»

Griffins and Wolves Aim For a Turner Cup Rematch

by Chad Cranmer
on
Last year’s Turner Cup finalists Grand Rapids Griffins and Chicago Wolves both aim to get back to the finals this season, and both have the firepower to do it.
The Wolves return many key players from last year’s championship team, and also have added players such as center Robert Petrovicky and the first overall pick in the NHL goalie Rick DiPietro. The Griffins also return many of their key players as well as receiving top players center Todd White and last year’s top IHL defenseman Mike Crowley from their parent >Ottawa Senators.
Not everyone is back however. The Wolves lost leading scorer Steve Maltais when he signed an NHL contract with the Expansion Columbus Bluejackets. Chicago will be counting center Steve Larouche and new comers Mark Lawrence, a New York Islanders prospect, Petrovicky, and left wing Mike Maneluk, assigned to the team by Columbus, to fill the scoring void left by Maltais’ departure. Right wing Brian Noonan will provide veteran leadership, and Paul Kruse will add muscle to the forward unit.
Glen Featherstone, Kevin Dahl, and Dallas Eakins anchor a corps of blueliners this year that also includes 22 year old Russian Evgeny Korolev who was assigned to the team by the Islanders. Veteran Wendal Young, who helped the Wolves to the Turner Cup last year, will share the goal with DiPietro.
The Griffins lost their all-time leading goal scorer, Michel Picard, goalie Jani Hurme, and forward Kevin Miller from last year’s squad, as well as IHL Coach of the Year Guy Charron, who took a job as an assistant for the M Read more»

Sabres Report: The Seattle Sabres?

by Ken McKenna
on
It is common knowledge amongst Buffalo Sabres’ fans that Buffalo maintains their main minor league affiliate in Rochester, NY. A quick perusal of Buffalo’s training camp roster, however, might give one the impression that the Sabres have added a 2nd farm team in the Great Northwest Mecca of Seattle, WA.

The roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL currently sports the names of six players who attended the 2000 training camp of the Buffalo Sabres. Four of the players- LW Barrett Heisten, RW Bret Dececco, LW Tim Preston and D Gerard Dicaire –are Sabre draftees, while defensemen Brennan Evans and Jeff Beatch attended camp as free agent invitees.

The most celebrated of the six players is, of course, ’99 1st round pick Barrett Heisten. Barrett joined the T-Birds following an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a contract with Buffalo, a turn of events that no doubt made many Seattle fans quite happy. Barrett did not disappoint in his first game as a T-Bird, as he picked up four assists in a 6-5 victory over the Kelowna Rockets.
Read more»