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.

 

Swiss WJC player report

by Joeri Loonen
on

Tobias Stephan:2002 draft eligible Stephan who got a 17-save shutout in the first game against Finland played well in the game vs Canada as well despite finding the puck behind him 6 times. This was mainly due to a fatigued Swiss defense in the third period. Stephan prevented the Candians to go into double figures with some excellent saves. The EHC Chur goalie was especially quick with covering up rebounds and closed his legs in time to prevent 5-hole goals. He
wasn’t to be blamed for any of the Canadian goals in the game and Switzerland know they have a more than safe goalie in their net for the rest of the tournament.

Rene Back: This EHC Chur defenseman logged a lot of ice time on the first line and played well for the first two periods were he showed his capabilities
as a physically strong defenseman. Back was delivering hits allover the place and gave the Candians forwards a hard time setting up plays in the offensive zone

Beat Forster: The Phoenix Coyotes prospect showed himself as a physical presence as well along with Back on the Swiss first line defence. Forster won’t score many points but is steady on his feet and uses his body well.

Thibaut Monnet: Speedy forward that needs to add some strength. He is to become a top sniper in the Swiss league, but hasn’t been drafted. He didn’t have
a great game today, depsite scoring Switzerland’s only goal, mainly because of the physical power the Canadian defense had.

Andreas Camenzind: Captain of team Switzerland and he showed today that he deserved to be so. He showed lea Read more»

Interview with Beat Forster and Severin Blindenbacher

by Joeri Loonen
on

Switzerland is drawn into a group along with Canada, Finland, Russia and France. ´83-born Player Beat Forster plays on Switzerland´s top line which also holds New York Rangers´ prospect Sven Helfenstein. Severin Blindebacher is skating on the 2nd line and is paired up with 84-born Tim Ramholt of ZSC Lions. Both players were so kind to answer some questions right after the game vs Canada today.

HF: Switzerland had a big win over Finland on the first day. Did that surprise you?
B: In hockey everything is possible and we took our chances well and scored some important goals at the right time in the game. Our defense was also very solid which helped us getting this good result.
F: This was a big game for us so we were ready for it. Our solid defensive play helped us getting this result.

HF: What did you expect for today´s game vs Canada?
B: We tried to defend tightly and were hoping we could score some goals to get a good result from this game.
F: We hoped we could win this game so we would be top in our group, but we realized Canada is a very strong team, not only techincally but also physically.

HF: Switzerland lost 6-1 today, what you feel went wrong?
B: Our defense was not ready for this game and against a good team like Canada with top offensive players it will kill you. Read more»

WJC : The New Guy Backstops Finland

by Jonathan Litterine
on

Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund showed his players that he wasn’t fooling around. Top draft prospect Kari Lehtonen didn’t play real well against the Swiss , so Westerlund decided he wouldn’t play at all against Russia. So enter Juha Kuokkanen. Kuokkanen didn’t get much help from his Finnish teammates , but he got just enough to win 2-1. Finland’s powerplay which had a ton of chances couldn’t get anything done all night. Yet with 1:02 left in a tied third period , Jyri Marttinen beat Andrei Medvedev to give his team the lead for good. Marttinen got the feed from San Jose prospect Tero Maatta to beat Medvedev who belongs to the Calgary Flames. Russia opened the scoring when Los Angeles’ first round pick in the 2000 draft Alexander Frolov scored. Tampa property Alexander Polushin got the assist. Oddly enough, the Finns tied it on a early third period shorthanded goal from Jarkko Immonen. The game remained tied until Marttinen’s game winner with just over a minute left. Kuokkanen stopped 15 of 16 Finnish shots. Medvedev was exceptional as well stopping 33 of 35 that came his way. But in the end the penalties taken by the Russians ended up costing them the game.

Scoring Summary

2nd Per. RUS – Alexander Frolov (Alex Polushin) 33:30

3rd Per. FIN – Jarkko Immonen (Jussi Jokinen) SHG,42:54
FIN – Jyri Marttinen (Tero Maatta) PPG, 58:58

Goaltenders

FIN – Juha Kuokkanen (16 Shots , 15 Saves) 1-0-0
RUS – Andrei Medvedev (35 Shots , 33 Saves) 1-1-0

Rangers Prospects at 2002 WJC

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

Filip Novak, Defenseman, Czech Republic: From all accounts, Novak has played extremely well, although the team certainly isn’t. This year’s WJC is taking place in the Czech Republic, and the hosts are off to a surprising 0-2 start after winning back-to-back gold medals the last two years. The Czechs have been firing a ton of shots, but they have had bad luck when it comes time to put the puck in the net. So far, only Tomas Plekanec, a forward drafted in the 3rd round this past summer by Montreal, has been able to put the Czechs on the board. They suffered a 3-1 loss to team USA, and were shutout today 1-0 by Slovakia, largely in part to a brilliant 45 save performance from goaltender Peter Budaj, a draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche. Through the 2 games, Novak has no goals or points, and is a -1. He also has registered 8 shots on goal. The Czechs have 1 game remaining in the preliminary round, which is against Sweden on December 30th. Since Slovakia is already 2-0, even if the Czechs win and Slovakia loses, Slovakia will still be the top team in Group A. However, weird things have happened in the past once the medal rounds start, so there still may be hope for the Czech Republic to bring home a 3rd straight gold medal. However, they better turn things around fast.

Garth Murray, Center, Canada: Murray may be off to the best start out of all the Rangers’ prospects currently participating in this years WJC. Through 2 games, a 15-0 win over France and a 6-1 win over Switzerland, Murray is tied for fourth in scoring among all players in the tournament Read more»

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