Michael Neal


Whitby Ontario

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









5th round (149th overall), 2007


187 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • B


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.



Appears to be a fringe AHL player at this point and may spend another year in the ECHL while competing for AHL call-ups.


Blues goaltending pipeline

by Brian Weidler

The Last Line Of Defense Is A Good One For The Blues

On the eve of the first training camp of the 21st Century, a number of Blues’ fans have questions about the most important position on the team — the goaltenders.

Almost everyone will agree that the time had come to send the beleaguered Roman Turek packing. And yet, despite acquiring a reliable starter (Fred Brathwaite) in return, there is a large faction of Bluenote backers who remain convinced that, without a world-class goalie, the Blues will play second fiddle to the traditional Western powerhouses yet again. The Doubting Thomases point to the inexperience of Brathwaite and Brent Johnson, and predict doom for the Blues in 2001-02.

While Blues fans may have legitimate concerns about goaltending in the short term, the long-term outlook in goal for the Blues has never looked brighter. Of the eight goaltenders who will wear the ‘Note in various camps this fall, six of them were either drafted or developed as professionals by the Blues. And it all starts with the man they call “Big” Johnson.

Originally drafted 129th overall by Colorado in 1995, Brent Johnson became Blues’ property just prior to the 1997 Entry Draft, when interim GM Ron Caron swung a deal for the big young netminder. A few months later, Johnson began his first season as a pro in Worcester, and split the duty with Frederic Cassivi. Johnson’s numbers in his first season were respectable for a 20-year-old rookie — 42 games played, 14 wins, a 3.19 goals-against average and a save percentage of 89.9%.

The next year, t Read more»

Recent Hab happenings

by Chris Boucher
Mike Komisarek (1st round, 2001) played for the US National Junior Team during the 2001 Summer Challenge in Lake Placid, NY. Komisarek recorded 1 assist, as the US split the four-game series against Finland. Scouting reports indicate that the 6’4″, 230 lbs. defenseman demonstrated his usual physically punishing style of play.

Alexander Buturlin (2nd round, 1999) played 2 games for Salavat Yuleyev of the Russian League. The right winger scored 1 goal during those 2 games while racking up 4 minutes in penalties. Contract negotiations in Russia are presumably still ongoing, as there has yet to be an official announcement regarding Buturlin’s future place of employment.

Alex Perezhogin (1st round, 2001) has played 2 preseason games with Omsk of the Russian League. The talented left winger was held off the score sheet. The 5’11”, 185 lbs. winger played 41 games with Omsk’s division-2 team last season, where he scored an incredible 47 goals to go along with 24 assists, and 40 penalty minutes.

Joni Puurula (8th round, 2000) has played 4 preseason games with HPK of the Finnish Elite League. Through those 4 games the 5’10”, 165 lbs. goalie has a 3-1 record, with a 2.00 goals against average, and an impressive .927 save percentage. Puurula will battle Czech native Zdenek Smid for playing time this season. Zdenek, who was drafted by Atlanta in the 6th round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft played last season with Karlovy Vary of the Czech Extraliga.

Leksand IF’s Johan Eneqvist (4th round, 2000) has played 3 preseason games. The 6’1″, 185 Read more»

Moose Add A Bit Of Local Flavour

by Andrew Bourgeois


Manitoba Moose General Manager Randy Carlyle announced that left-winger Jimmy Roy and defenseman Justin Kurtz will be returning to the Moose line up in 2001-2002 after both agreed to one-year contracts. Last season, Roy posted career highs with 18 goals and 31 points in 77 games with racking up 150 minutes in penalties and was plus-five. Kurtz scored eight goals and added 22 assists for 30 points and was plus-two in 69 games. In the playoffs, Kurtz played some of the best hockey of his career recording five points in 13 games.

Over the past four years, Roy became known around the International Hockey League for his aggressive style of play and his ability to take the opposition off their game. Off the ice, Roy has become Manitoba’s most recognizable player because of his efforts in the community.

Kurtz, who enters his fourth season with the Moose, has developed and improved consistently from year to year. His points and assists totals from last year were both career highs and following last season, Kurtz received the Moose’s annual Community Service Award.

“The signing of both Jimmy Roy and Justin Kurtz were important steps for our hockey club,” said Carlyle. “As much as both contribute on the ice, they are equally as productive off the ice and play an important role for our organization in the community. We are pleased to have Justin and Jimmy back and along with Brian Chapman, they will provide some continuity for our fans as we enter the AHL.”

Roy was originally drafted by the by the Dallas Stars with their 7th pick, 254th Read more»

A Look Back at the 1998 Draft

by Brandon LeBourveau
The 1998 NHL Entry Draft was one of the more interesting ones of the past few years. Many experts labeled the draft as neither very strong or very weak in talent, but somewhere inbetween. Three years later, and the draft has already produced a good amount of solid NHLers. Not to mention that more are still developing and have a good shot at cracking an NHL lineup in the not-to-distant future.

Heading into the draft, everyone knew that center Vincent Lecavalier from the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL was going to be the first selection. However, the question was what team was going to have the 1st overall pick when it was all over? The Tampa Bay Lightning held the first selection, and there were a lot of rumors floating around about a possible trade. The Colorado Avalanche were one of the teams definitely interested, as Pierre Lacroix (GM of the Avalanche) stocked up on early draft picks in an attempt to obtain the 1st overall pick and select the player he wanted most, Lecavalier. Add in the extra excitement as the Nashville Predators were entering the league in the upcoming season and they were ready to be a part of their 1st NHL Entry Draft.

The following is a full review of each selection in the 1st round of the 1998 Draft. Included is the player selected, his position, what team he was drafted from, and his career stats thus far in the NHL.

1. Tampa Bay – Vincent Lecavalier, C, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) Read more»

Regan Kelly of the Providence Friars

by Stephen J. Holodinsky

Many are familiar with most of the Leaf blueliners in the pipeline. Names like Chartier, Zion, Svoboda, Pilar, Colaiacovo among others are either CHL products or overseas skaters that arrived with much fanfare. However, one name without either of these advantages might be worth taking note of in Regan Kelly. Kelly, going into his sophomore year at Providence College in the powerful Hockey East Conference of the NCAA, was obtained when Toronto peddled Chris MacAllister to the Philadelphia Flyers before the 2000/2001 season. Friars Coach Paul Pooley likes what he sees in Kelly to date and feels that he can only get better.

While admitting that “any defenseman needs to work at his pivot” he is also quick to point out that skating “is one of the strengths of the package” his young charge brings to the table with both his straight ahead speed and lateral movement being solid parts of his game. This naturally helps him out in the transition game and his coach lauds his ability to “make a playable (first) pass” although he will use the boards if nothing presents itself. On the rush he “reads the play well” and while “not an end to end rusher” in the mold of Bryan Berard, he knows how to “use his teammates” and “is adept at losing himself in the offense”. Once in the opposition zone Kelly presents a wide array of options for the others players on his team. He “makes himself a good target for passes” by separating from his mark and is “solid at keeping the puck in” when the opposition attempts to clear able to use both his hands and body in addition to his stick to get Read more»

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