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.

 

New System, Same Results

by Chris Boucher
on
The Canadiens began the 2000-2001 season with new players, fewer injuries, and a completely revamped system. Unfortunately, they came away with similar results; An 8-4 loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.
Unlike last season the Habs did not use a passive trap. The passive trap is used to cause turnovers in the neutral zone. Instead, they’re now using a 2-man forechecking system, in hopes of causing turnovers inside the offensive zone. This system created more offensive chances, particularly with the Habs’ speed.
The forwards were also attempting to create scoring chances off the rush. Last year (especially when injuries decimated the team), the Habs would not attempt to score off the rush, instead choosing to dump it in the corner and create scoring chances with the down-low cycle. The team’s lack of size is not conducive to cycling the puck down low, which is part of the reason for the change.
The defensemen however, are not immune to the change in the system. This season the Habs’ defensive corps has the green light when it comes to pinching-in. Pinching-in is when the defenseman attempts to keep the puck in the zone as the other team attempts to break-out. Last season the defensemen rarely pinched-in, choosing instead to back out of the offensive zone, thereby not allowing many odd-man rushes. Read more»

The Weekend Warrior

by Randy Nicholson
on

Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.

The final cuts: The Maple Leafs pared their roster down to the required 23 healthy bodies on the October 2nd deadline by assigning defensemen D. J. Smith and Nathan Dempsey along with forward Jeff Farkas to St. John’s of the AHL … all three players performed well in camp and are considered to be viable call-up options should the Leafs run into any injury problems later on … when newly acquired Bryan McCabe officially arrived from Chicago later in the week, the team was once again over the roster limit and therefore forced to demote one more player … Adam Mair was ultimately selected, not because he hadn’t clearly played his way onto the team this fall, but simply because he was one of the few remaining players not subject to league waivers prior to a minor league assignment … Mair shouldn’t get too used to life on the Rock as he’ll undoubtedly be back as soon as the Leafs move out an extra veteran or two … this could happen very soon …
Read more»

CCHA Player Watch Part 2 – Notre Dame Fighting Irish

by Greg Andrade
on
Our look at the top players to watch in the CCHA continues with an analysis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Under head coach Dave Poulin, the Irish have improved considerably, but this season may be a true breakthrough year for the team. Notre Dame has 17 letterwinners returning from its CCHA semi-finals squad of last season, including several players who are finally coming into their own. The Irish have 10 players on their roster who have played either with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program or the U.S. World Junior squad. Notre Dame has more players from the NTDP on its roster than any other school in college hockey. A good recruiting class helped bolster that impressive number over the summer and should keep the Irish strong in the years to come.

Seniors Dan Carlson and Ryan Dolder will be the clear leaders on this young team and should also be among the team’s top scorers. Carlson led the Irish in scoring with 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points in 42 games. Carlson is undersized at 5-9 and 190 pounds, but he is very strong for his stature. He plays in all situations and shows some of his best work for the power play, where he is an excellent playmaker and is often the Notre Dame point man.

Dobler is a former walk-on who is now the team captain. He is a 6-0 195-pound left wing and while his offensive production is limited, his leadership and work ethic are critical to the team’s success. Dobler scored 10 goals and added 14 assists for 24 points last season.

Read more»

News on Lundmark, Mottau and Purinton

by Brandon LeBourveau
on
Some more moves have been made by the Rangers, as this has been a very
exciting week in New York. With the trade of Quintal to Chicago for Grosek
and Brown yesterday, the Rangers roster got a little bigger and they needed
to make some moves.

Defensemen Mike Mottau and Dale Purinton were both assigned to Hartford
of the AHL yesterday, with Purinton being sent there on a 2 week conditioning
stint. Purinton can’t be sent to Hartford without passing through waivers, so
the Rangers just sent him there for 2 weeks while they possibly try and trade
another defenseman to make room for him on the pro club. I really thought
Mottau played well in the 6 games he played. He will definitely get called up
and play in New York this season, but for now the Rangers’ roster is loaded
and he’ll get some time to develop in Hartford. He should get loads of ice
time, and the Rangers management will be keeping a close eye on him. Purinton
should be on the Rangers as well, but there’s a log jam at defense. Either
the Rangers will have to trade another defenseman to make room for Purinton,
or, they’ll have to trade Purinton. But it’s most likely they won’t trade the
rough-and-tough Purinton.

In other news, Jamie Lundmark has stated publicly that he will not report
to Moose Jaw of the WHL. He wants to be traded from Moose Jaw to a contender,
and he’s sitting at home while he’s waiting for a trade. This is the wrong Read more»

Plymouth’s Success Continues

by pbadmin
on
Two weeks into the OHL season and a disturbing message has already been sent from the Plymouth
Whalers to the rest of the league: We are back.

The Plymouth Whalers franchise seems to never do wrong. As their website once read, “A Decade of
Excellence,” Plymouth seems to stand by the statement, and looks to continue into a new
millennium. Off to a quick 4-0 start, with wins over teams such as Erie and Ottawa, the Whalers
return many of the same faces which brought success last year, and reveal a few new more, ready
to make their mark in the league. 1st round selection James Wisniewski looks to be a bright gem
in the Whalers system. As a defenceman, he leads the team with 4 goals and looks to be the next
person to carry the Whalers blazing torch. As a Windsor supporter, I will be quick to state that
I have never seen an average Plymouth Whalers performance. Year in and year out the Whalers
continue to mold their team around hard work and perseverance. Take last year’s squad for
example. Not expected to make it into the playoffs, the Whalers shocked everyone around the
league and won 17 straight games en route to the best record overall in the league, and an
upsetting loss in the OHL Final to Barrie. Experience might have been the ultimate decider in
their fate, but there is no need to feel down for Whalers fans and players because every
key player from last year’s ‘miracle’ season returns. Led by former 1st rounder Kris Vernarsky Read more»