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.

 

Sheldon Keefe Interview

by Ron Hoover
on

I authored an earlier article dealing with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s drafting of Sheldon Keefe in this summers draft. In that article I mentioned that there were a few rumors swirling around Sheldon that had affected his draft position. I also pointed out that most, if not all, of those rumors had been deemed by the Lightning’s management as either false or not worthy of worrying about. They decided to take a chance on the young Mr. Keefe and have not been disappointed so far. Here is a short interview I had with Sheldon during the first week of training camp.

RH – Sheldon, I have to ask you about the draft and some of the things that were said about you before it. I know that it’s now been proven the rumors surrounding you and Mr.Frost were inaccurate and you would rather put that whole fiasco behind you, so I won’t ask you about him. I would like to know though what was your reaction to dropping so far in the draft.

Read more»

Game Report – EHC Kloten – HC Lugano

by pbadmin
on

One of the most interesting match-ups of the year, if you are a prospects fans, is between these two talented teams.

Kloten is building on young players. As they are still playing with only 2 foreign players, one more roster spot is kept for a young player until the 3rd man arrives (it will most likely be Sergei Brylin, if he fails to make the NJ Devils roster).

Swiss Champ Lugano has the deepest roster in the league, but still has quite a few good talents under contract.

Game Rosters:

Kloten:
Andrew McKim, Martin Plüss, Adrian Wichser
Sébastien Reuille, Tomas Strandberg, André Rufener
Felix Hollenstein, Matthias Schenkel, Sven Helfenstein
Thomas Widmer, Sven Lindemann, Christian Wohlwend

Martin Bruderer, Benjamin Winkler
Samuel Balmer, Arne Ramholt
Martin Höhener, Marco Klöti
Oskar Szczepaniec, Mattias Wüst

Reto Pavoni (backup Christian Wepf)

Injured: Thomas Heldner (out until February)

Lugano:
Phillipe Bozon, Christian Dubé, Marcel Jenni
Misko Antisin, Gian-Marco Crameri, Régis Fuchs
Gilbert Flüeler, Igor Fedulov, Trevor Meier
Andy Näser, Jean-Jaques Aeschlimann, André Doll
Keith Fair

Sandro Bertaggia, Peter Andersson
Julien Vauclair, Marc Astley
Olivier Keller, Rick Tschumi
Gaetan Voisard

Lars Weibel (backup Christobal Huet)

Injured: Marc-Pierre Tschudy, Geoffrey Vauclair

1st period: Read more»

Sharks training camp update

by pbadmin
on

All in all, the Sharks are looking much more like a cohesive unit this year. The Sharks are famous for slow starts, look for that trend to end this year if they can maintain the momentum.

1: Johan Hedberg: Looking solid, but clearly AHL material for now. Given that he’s already 26, and will be fighting for time in Kentucky, don’t look for him to be anything more than a team’s 3rd goalie.

3: Bob Rouse: Actually looking pretty strong, better than last year. I’m hoping the Sharks can use him in a situation where he only plays perhaps every other or every 3rd game to keep him fresh. Although with smaller rosters now, not sure if that will be possible. May be odd man out if rookies earn a spot.

5: Jeff Norton: Looking better defensively than offensively which is opposite of what I expected. Haven’t really seen much on offense, but has made several very nice defensive plays.

8: Jarrod Skalde: Haven’t really seen much one way or another about him. Solid play on both ends, no big mistakes.

10: Marcus Ragnarson: A jammed ankle has slowed him a little bit, but has looked solid paired with Mike Rathje again. He’ll be back in time for when they count.

11: Owen Nolan: Miracle of miracles, I have not seen him go postal yet. When last year he was hitting posts and missing all together, he’s right on this year. Looking sharp around the net during practices. Haven’t seen him much in scrimmage or games yet though.
Read more»

Nashville Predators Training Camp Update Part 1

by pbadmin
on

The first three roster cuts are complete and the remaining Nashville Predators prospects are entering the most important weekend of their careers. Nashville plays three games in as many nights and the trio of contests will offer the final chance for most prospects to earn roster spots. Here is the first of two reports that will provide updates on all the notable prospects who have participated in the Predators rookie camp and NHL training camp …

David Legwand (8.5)

Believe it or not, David Legwand is already at a crossroads in his career. After a quiet season in the OHL, Nashville expects Legwand to show the intangibles that he focused on at the expense of his offensive production last year. According to Legwand, his statistics suffered last season because he focused on improving his defense, physical play and faceoff ability. As a continuation of that effort, Legwand spent much of the off-season working with a strength and conditioning coach in Nashville, after the organization made it clear that he needs to add muscle and get stronger.

Legwand will definitely make the Nashville roster this season and will likely play on a checking line to start the year. That would give him an opportunity to prove that his work on the intangibles has been worthwhile. It would also allow him to start his NHL career gradually, much like Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecavalier did with their respective teams. A conservative approach is probably best for Legwand, who is not yet ready to be a star player.
Read more»

Camp Notes

by pbadmin
on

Roster:
Note: Not all tryouts are included on this list.

Goaltenders: Christian Brosnard, Tim Keyes, Alfie Michaud, Garth Snow, Kevin Swanson, Mike Valley, Kevin Weekes.

Defensemen: Chad Allan, Bryan Allen, Murray Baron, Rick Bertran, Doug Bodger, Ryan Bonni, Clint Cabana, Regan Darby, Darrell Hay, Kevin Kellett, Zenith Komarniski, Kevin Mackie, Mattias Ohlund, Chris O’Sullivan, Ryan Shannon, Brent Sopel, Jason Strudwick, Rene Vydarney, Greg Hadwood, Peter Allen.

Centers: Steward Bodtker, Andrew Cassels, Artem Chubarov, Matt Cooke, Harold Druken, Darby Hendrickson, Josh Holden, Mark Messier, Reggie Savage, Steve Shrum, Jarred Smithson, Lubomir Vaic, Harry York.

Left Wings: Todd Bertuzzi, Donald Brashear, Mike Brown, Marcus Gustaffson, Steve Kariya, Brad May, Ryan Ready, Randy Rowe, Peter Schaefer, Jonas Soling, Ryan Thorpe.

Right Wings: Paul Ferone, Martin Gendron, Pat Kavanagh, Trent Klatt, Mike Lee, Brad Leeb, Vince Malts, Alex Mogilny, Bill Muckalt, Rob Pearson, Larry Shapely, Jarkko Ruutu, Markus Naslund.

Kamloops:
Day 1

U of Maine UFA signee Steve Kariya impresses. He’s got that great speed. He was always buzzing around the puck. Looked very very tiny.

Bryan Allen and Doug Bodger were paired. Allen was pretty much invisible.

Greg Hawgood, IHL megastar, returns to the NHL to replace Adrian Aucoin to QB the VC power play.

Derek Diener, a tryout from Burnaby, got a broken arm when he crashed into the boards. Read more»