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.

 

Rangers top 10 prospects reranked

by Michael Theodore
on

On the Rangers roster right now, one will find several emerging talents who are all under the age of 25. Wingers Radek Dvorak and Jan Hlavac showed they could net 30 goals ands 60 points at the pro level, and they are only expected to improve. Mike York showed that he could play in situations other then offensively and may just be the most versatile member of the whole team. Tomas Kloucek jumped from AHL rookie team member and all-star to a solid NHL rookie who is logging close to 20 minutes a game and may earn a spot on the NHL’s All Rookie squad. Kim Johnsson battled slumps but improved upon his point totals and defensive play from his freshman campaign, while Dale Purinton made the seemingly impossible jump from the AHL to a semi-regular spot on the Rangers blue line. Mike Mottau learned the pro game and after a successful season in the minors finds himself playing the point with his idol Brian Leetch. Peter Smrek was acquired in a late season deal and looks like he may be a quality defenseman who isn’t always noticed but always gets the job done. Most importantly once forgotten first round pick Manny Malhotra returned to the NHL having learned a new position which lately has been put to excellent use. While not only chipping in with the odd point or so, Manny has added speed, energy and size to a line that appears to possibly stick as the first line next season. At the very least the combination has shown the Rangers brass what Malhotra and Dvorak are capable of with a little development.

Yet with all the developments at the NHL level, progress at the minor, Read more»

Bulls Sweep Frontenacs

by Bill Thompson
on
The Bulls finished off the Kingston Frontenacs last night with a 5-3 victory in Kingston. It was a hard fought series with 3 out of 4 games ending close, the only exception being the first game, a 10-2 Bulls win. The other games ended up: 3-2, 6-5 2OT and 5-3 for the sweep in 4 straight games. If all of the favorites win in the first round, it will be Belleville vs. Ottawa in the second round. These are always very entertaining series, but are also nerve racking for fans, players and coaches alike because of the way the series is played. It never seems to matter who has the better team, every game is played on pure emotion rather than skill and talent due to the long standing rivalry between the two cities. Other possible opponents are the Peterborough Petes and the Barrie Colts. The outcomes are not decided as of yet, but we will know in a few short days.

SERIES RECAP

Nate Robinson scored the first goal of the series, which was just the beginning for him as he proceeded to dominate the rest of the way providing the spark for the Bulls in each game. He collected 4 points (1G, 3A) in the first game and played extremely well short-handed. The Bulls were a well-oiled machine in the first game with the top two lines providing the scoring punch and the third line banging and crashing. Banging and crashing might somehow be understating a bit, since the Bulls set a team record with 118 registered hits and Cody McCormick (CSB #93) recording 22 hits himself. It appeared it would be an even game after the first period with the score only 1 Read more»

Kelly Miller has no regrets about jump from NAHL to NHL

by Derek Berry
on
You can probably call Kelly Miller an alumnus of the North American
Hockey League, even it was only a three month stay.

In December, the former Michigan State star and NHL standout (notably
with the Washington Capitals) received a phone call he did not think
would come for awhile.

He started as coach of the Lansing’s Capital Centre Pride in September,
as a first-time head coach in a brand new job with a sparkling,
promising new franchise-in an area he was very familiar with-Lansing,
Michigan.

Little did he know it when he started out, but he was a wanted man
behind the bench in the professional ranks. Around the same time in
December, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim fired head coach Craig Hartsburg
and replaced him with assistant coach Guy Charron.

Because of his success in the pros and his connections (and
aspirations to move up) Miller had an opportunity that many don’t always
get a shot at and he had some soul-searching to do.

“It really tore at me,” says Miller, now an assistant with Anaheim.
“It was a difficult decision. It was hard to leave the team in
midstream, but I knew they would be in capable hands.”

Indeed they were and have been. Assistant coach Jeff Blum took over
and made what could have been a terrible situation turn into a big
positive for the Lansing club.

The Capital Centre Pride’s Ron Gay, director of hockey operations says
Blum took over right away and got the team rolling. Immediately.

“Not to say Kelly wasn’t a good coach, but we went on a f Read more»

Prospect Profile: Rick DiPietro

by Drew Bennett
on
At the 2000 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the New York Islanders,
with the first overall selection, shocked the world by selecting Goaltender
Rick DiPietro, and trading Roberto Luongo and Kevin Weekes. DiPietro
instantly made hockey history by being selected the highest drafted
Goaltender ever, surpassing Luongo, who was selected by the Islanders with
the 4th overall choice in 1997.

At Boston University, DiPietro had a 18-5-5 record with a 2.45 goals
against average and a .913 save percentage. DiPietro won the Kevin Mutch
award as the Most Valuable Player of the Boston University vs. Boston College
Series. One of DiPietro’s top qualities are his confidence and his puck
handling ability. His ability to play the puck was the reason that Mike
Milbury, General Manager of the New York Islanders, believed he would be a
better Goaltender than Luongo. Milbury was quoted a few weeks after the
draft saying “DiPietro will revitalize the goaltending position.”

After struggling at training camp, where he suffered a groin injury, he
was sent to the Chichago Wolves of the International Hockey League. He also
struggled in Chicago where he posted a sub-par 3.39 Goals Against Average.
In the World Junior Championships for Team USA, DiPietro played almost 360
minutes, and allowed only 8 goals on 109 shots. He played in six games, and
had a 5-1 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.

After the World Junior Championships, DiPietro finally got his chance to
play in the NHL. In Read more»

Legwand carves path from hockey in Michigan to pros

by Derek Berry
on
The player they compare to Mike Modano, another state of Michigan
hockey superstar, is making a name for himself in the ranks of the
National Hockey League. It will only be after several years in the
league that those comparisons will start to diminish.

In the meantime, the high-profile draft pick and native Detroiter
continues to create excitement on the ice with his talent and
ability…talents that many saw him use to his full capacity while playing
in the Compuware system and with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.

“You can see the signs that he’s going to be a great player,” says
Nashville Predators assistant coach Brent Peterson. “He’s only
20-years-old, he’s still learning the game, and yet we’ve thrown him
into the lineup every night and he’s handled it well.”

Certainly Peterson says Legwand has a lot to learn about the pro game,
but the tools are there.

“He has the potential to be an outstanding player as soon as he
matures,” says Peterson, a former Detroit Red Wing, who played with the
Wings back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before Legwand was even
born. “He’s a Modano-style player, with terrific skills and he’s done
as much as we want him to.”

Adjusting to the long season schedule in the NHL and the travel has
been a big part of the climb for Legwand, who has 9 goals and 23 assists
for 32 points in 64 games so far this season for the Predators.

“It’s a different game up here,” says Legwand. “You get better every
game and you realize it’s all about total team effort,” h Read more»

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