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.

 

WMU offense is potent, defense inexperienced

by Derek Berry
on

Some teams can score goals. A few here and there, some timely ones will
help. Oh, and then there’s Western Michigan. The Broncos make up in offense
what they might lack everywhere else – a bevy of scorers who can get the
job done.

In exact contrast to the Northern Michigan Wildcats, the Broncos have
plenty of offensive punch and need some help on defense. If they had
Northern Michigan’s defense (or conversely if Northern Michigan had
their offense) somebody would be pretty hard to stop.

But, consider what Western Michigan has in the way of returnees and
you’ll be astounded.

For starters, four of their five leading scorers from last year’s squad
are back and all of them were in the top 50 in the league in overall
scoring. Out of that, WMU returns 17 letterwinners. Not too shabby.
The top scorer coming back into the league this season is senior forward
David Gove (18 goals, 28 assists, 46 points in 1999-2000 season). By
virtue of the top two scorers in the league last year leaving (Shawn
Horcoff, MSU and Mike Comrie, U-M) Gove is the key man and a big part of
the Broncos offensive machine.

Head coach Jim Culhane knows the Broncos firepower will continue into
this season.

“We got some timely goals last year no question and for that to continue
this year we need to improve upon our goals against and goals for this
year,” said Culhane, in his 3rd season at WMU.

Gove says the power play will be enhanced because of the offensive
potential.

“Our power play was very good last year and there’s no reason we can’t
im Read more»

Espen Knutsen Online?

by Evan Andriopoulos
on
Espen Knutsen`s site www.espenknutsen.net is up and running. Created by Tom Mehlum I believe related to the Norwegian Ice Hockey League. Knutsen`s site features game articles etc… but the real question is …. will he last long enough in the NHL to stay online for some time? and will he pave the way for young Norwegian gunners Tore Vikingstad(ST.Louis/Leksand), Patrick Thoresen(Storhamar) and tough defender Anders Myrvold (Springfield-AHL) to follow his footsteps!

Stars Notebook (11/16/2000)

by Keith Riskey
on

Notebook — 11/16/2000

Utah Grizzlies Update

The Utah Grizzlies broke even this weekend. First, they smoked the Vipers
4-2 in Detroit on Friday, but the following evening maintained vanilla
status quo by falling to Grand Rapids by the identical score. It’s been a
break even road tour, and the Grizzlies have gone 3-3-0. But after Thursday’s
game at Milwaukee, the Grizzlies will finally head back home after their
weary road-trip still nursing a winning record (currently they are 8-6-0).
Once there, Utah will surely try to put more fuel in the gas tank and gear-up for a
tenacious home stand.

Top Utah Scorers


Player GP G A Pts
Greg Leeb 14 7 7 14
Jamie Wright 14 7 7 14
David Ling 12 5 5 10
Chris Wells 14 4 5 9
Alan Letang 14 2 7 9
Ryan Christie 14 5 3 8
Eric Houde 14 0 8 8

Jackman still Progressing
Read more»

Youthful Wildcats will have to grow up fast

by Derek Berry
on

It has been said that youth brings enthusiasm to a hockey team. While
this is true, youth cannot make up for experience. That’s something the
Northern Michigan University Wildcats lost a lot of after last season.
In fact, three of its five leading scorers from the 1999-2000
campaign-Roger Trudeau (17 goals, 8 assists, 25 points), Bryan Phillips
(6-14-20) and J.P. Vigier (9-11-20)-are no longer there.

Can the team be just as solid with the players they have coming back?
Head coach Rick Comley, one of the most honest coaches in college hockey
or any sport for that matter, is not sure experience equals solidity.
“I’m not so sure those two things go together,” says coach Comley, in
his 25th season with NMU and the only coach in their history. “There’s
no question with a senior goaltender and six returning defensemen that
we can be solid. The question is will we be?”

Indeed a very good question. Suppose one of those players goes down?
Suppose one of them isn’t performing up to their potential? What then?
That’s where, if your Northern Michigan, you hope that the experience
you gain from each game and each practice adds to the players
repertoires…in a hurry.

“It’s something we work on in practice, trying to give all of the
freshman and sophomores more opportunities, chances and ways to get
experience,” says NMU team captain and senior defenseman Mike Sandbeck.
“We have to keep everyone involved, because everyone has good days and
bad days. We have to keep everyone focused.”

Focus will be no problem in goal, with Marquette nat Read more»

Quality, Quantity Among OHL Draft-Eligibles

by Bob Chery
on
There is an impressive array of both quality and quantity
available this year from the OHL for the 2001 NHL Draft,
particularly at center and defence at the high end. There is
considerably more depth when compared to the 2000 crop.

It’s still early and no doubt things will change as the young
players log more and more games and begin to adjust, improve,
and emerge, but here are the preliminary returns for the Top 20
as the season passes the quarter-pole :

1. JASON SPEZZA C, No Team – Awaiting a trade from the IceDogs,
it will be interesting to see how Spezza fares in a different
environment. What can I say about this much talked about
prospect without sounding redundant? Probably nothing.

Has size and a superstar quality skill-set, vision, and hockey
sense which makes him an offensive scoring machine, especially
on the power-play. Does not have superstar quality speed or
acceleration. Has a good, accurate shot with a quick release on
the wrister, not so quick on the slapper.

2. STEPHEN WEISS C, Plymouth – A great skater who can carry the
puck to openings and sees the ice well. Elusive. Has great
anticipation. Can run a power-play from the half-boards, and his
speed on the penalty-kill enables him to forecheck aggressively
and get back into his zone in plenty of time. Will play defence
deep in his own zone. Not quite prototypical size but he will go
to the boards to battle for the puck when he has to, can keep
his feet when being hit, but is at his best picking up the puck
as the third man in. Ju Read more»

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