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.
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.