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.

 

IHL Preview

by Andrew Bourgeois
on

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS:

Mike Crowley was an IHL all-star with the Long Beach Ice Dogs last year and runner-up to Manitoba’s Brett Hauer for top defenceman honours. The 25-year-old had nine goals and a team-high 39 assists for the Ice Dogs and will be counted on to quarterback the Griffins power play.

ORLANDO SOLAR BEARS:

Entering his ninth professional season, Mark Beaufait has become a fixture in Orlando where he has led the team in scoring over the past four seasons. Last season as he registered a team-high 28 goals and 49 assists for 77 points in 78 games. The 30-year-old needs only 34 points to reach the 600-point mark for his IHL career.

CINCINNATI CYCLONES:

Gilbert Dionne the former Montreal Canadiens sniper notched 34 goals and 83 points in 81 games a year ago — including 11 power-play markers. The scary thing is that the Cyclones captain could be set to increase his production this season.

CLEVELAND LUMBERJACKS:

Christian Matte led the AHL in scoring last season, posting 43 goals and 104 points in 73 games with the Hershey Bears, earning him a brief callup with the Colorado Avalanche. Matte, signed as a free agent during the summer by the Minnesota Wild, should provide scoring punch to the Jacks. He also won a Calder Cup championship with the Bears in 1996-97.

MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS:

Marian Cisar the Slovakian product was second in scoring with the Admirals last year, posting 20 goals and 52 points in 78 games.
Read more»

Witehall Sent to Hartford

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The Rangers needed to make room for newly acquired Michal Grosek at
forward, and instead of trading an old veteran like John MacLean or Eric
Lacroix, they took a chance on losing Johan Witehall on waivers by sending
him down to Hartford of the AHL. Luckily no one picked up Witehall, and he
was assigned to Hartford yesterday. The Rangers roster is now down to 23 for
tonight’s game against Atlanta. Here is the roster, which includes 3
goaltenders, 7 defenseman and 13 forwards.

Goalies: Mike Richter (injured), Kirk McLean, Jason Labarbera (rookie)

Defenseman: Brian Leetch, Vladamir Malakhov, Sylvain Lefebvre, Rich Pilon,
Kim Johnsson, Brad Brown, Jason Doig

Forwards: Theoren Fleury, Adam Graves, Mark Messier, Valeri Kamensky, Mike
York, Michal Grosek, Petr Nedved, Radek Dvorak, Jan Hlavac, John MacLean,
Eric Lacroix, Tim Taylor, Sandy McCarthy

In other news, SLAM! is reporting that there has been talks about a
blockbuster trade between the Rangers and the Phoenix Coyotes. In this
proposed trade, the Rangers would send Mike Richter, Theoren Fleury, and top
prospects Jamie Lundmark and Pavel Brendl to Phoenix for Keith Tkachuk and
Nikolai Khabibulin. Although SLAM! says NHL insiders have said these talks
have taken place, Glen Sather has denied it. Thank Goodness! If the Rangers
pulled off that trade, I would be one pissed of hockey fan. Not only is that
deal totally one-sided in favor of Phoenix, we give up both our top prospects Read more»

Opening Night 1, starring Columbus and Chicago

by Bill Drake
on

Preparing for the festivities, the Blue Jackets re-assigned four and placed Espen Knutsen on the injured reserved list.
Deron Quint went to the Syracuse Crunch (AHL). Mike Maneluk went to the Chicago Wolves (IHL). Center Brett Harkins and defenseman Bert Robertsson went to the Houston Aeros (IHL). Center Espen Knutsen is on injured reserve retroactive to September 20, when he suffered a broken finger against the Detroit Red Wings. Defenseman Radim Bicanek was placed on waivers to make room for Steve Maltais, who recently signed a contract. Maltais attended camp on a trial contract.
Team lines should look something like this tonight with Maltais, Drury and Dineen mixing things up. My apologies, last issue I forgot to mention Jan Caloun on my projected line-up.

Sanderson-Kron- Heinze

Wright-Aubin-Vyborny

Gardiner-Adams-Caloun

Maltais-Drury-Dineen

The defense pairings are not set.

The Big 4

by pbadmin
on
The Ontario Hockey League’s class of 2001 is looking very promising. With a solid core of
offensive gems and reliable rearguards, this year might be the most productive in recent memory
when it comes to the players developing into quality NHL players. Leading the pack is the highly
touted Jason Spezza of the Mississauga Ice Dogs. Spezza, in his 3rd full OHL season, has a very
good chance of being chosen 1st overall, and making an impact in the not so distant future in
the NHL. Also rated is Stephen Weiss of the Plymouth Whalers. As a rookie last season, Weiss
turned heads with his excellent on-ice vision, and maturity. These 2 players will certainly lead
the OHL into next year’s draft, and represent the offensive capabilities of the league, but the
show will then be focused over to four of the most talented defensemen that the OHL has ever
witnessed.

Leading the crop is Tim Gleason of the Windsor Spitfires. Gleason, in his 2nd season, can do it
all. His speed is his best asset, with end to end capabilities. Make sure to watch for him when
he visits your team’s rink. I can assure you that you have never seen a more powerful, more
agile skater. He is excellent in his own end, making the big plays in front of the net and in
the corners. He is not afraid to mix it up, as his grit and toughness aids well in making him a
solid defensive defenceman. A good example of this is last year’s 1st round playoff matchup vs. Read more»

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»