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.

 

Positions Up For Grabs In Motown

by pbadmin
on

As the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp continues in Traverse City, Michigan, competition for open roster positions is expected to be fierce. With Darren McCarty holding out, Brent Gilchrist on the injured reserve, and Uwe Krupp suspended, the Wings’ have only 20 NHL regulars. Four open positions are up for grabs in order to fill out the NHL regulation 24-man roster.

Up front, twelve Red Wing regulars are expected to begin the season with Detroit. Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, Slava Kozlov, Martin Lapointe, Tomas Holmstrom, Igor Larionov, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Doug Brown, Stacy Roest and Joe Kocur have all reported to camp under contract and in good health.

On the blue line, there are only five returning regulars from last seasons brief playoff run. Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mathieu Dandenault and Aaron Ward have all reported to Traverse City and will begin the season in Detroit. Recently signed unrestricted free agent Steve Duchesne rounds out the blue line’s top six.

In the crease, there is little doubt that Chris Osgood will be the starter with Ken Wregget as his backup. The Wings’ are unlikely to carry three goalies, and for that reason Manny Legace is expected to be sent to a minor league franchise to begin the season.

Read more»

The Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament: A Bird’s Eye View

by pbadmin
on

It was truly hockey’s future this past week in Kitchener as prospects from
the Leafs, Hurricanes, Rangers and Sabres met in a round-robin tournament.
Before the festivities began for this reporter, a blast from the Leafs’
past, Hall-of-Famer, George (The Chief) Armstrong, greeted me as I arrived.
I then knew this was to be a special weekend spent with the Maple Leafs’
past as well as their future.

The Maple Leafs squared off with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night Read more»

Training Camp Opens

by pbadmin
on
The Islanders fresh new start has finally arrived as training camp opened in Lake Placid. This camp figures to be especially spirited as many young players look to impress new coach Butch Goring and earn spots. For several Isles prospects this iwill be a make or break season. This is the best and quite possibly last chance for players like Dmitri Nabokov, Vladimir Chebaturkin, Ray Schultz, and Sean Haggerty to win a regular role in the NHL. If some of these older prospects fail to impress don’t expect them to stay in the ISles system much longer. Another floudering prospect continues to be Mike Rupp. Publicly, management has continued to bachk the 9th overall pick but unless he has a break out year he will not be signed and would re-enter the draft. As of now the lumbering winger is not worth the minimum salary for a first round pick which is just under $1 million per season.
Read more»

Blues Rookies Defeat Nashville To Win Tournament Championship

by pbadmin
on
In what was a hard fought game from start to finish, the Blues youngsters avenged last years loss to the Pred’s with a 2-1 victory. St. Louis went undefeated in the round robin tournament with a strong team effort. All but three players contributed to the scoring, and goaltenders Alex Westlund and Kenrick Exner played solid in goal. The Blues got on the scoreboard first with a goal by James Desmarais at 9:56 of period one. Ladislav Nagy and Barret Jackman assisted on the play. Nashville then tied the score with an early second period goal at 3:49. Jeremy Reich put the Blues on top with his first goal of the tournament at 9:19 of the second period. Dean Stock and Brad Twordik assisted on what stood to be the game winner. The third period was scoreless as the Blues held on for the 2-1 win.

This win, no matter how small it may seem, is a huge step for an organization with a history of not producing prospects. The Blues, having concentrated on building from within, have more depth at the minor pro level than ever before. With each draft year comes a list of capable young players that are groomed for the NHL. Instead of rushing a player through the organization or trading away top picks for quick fix, the Blues have held the hard-line and eventually will be rewarded for that. This victory for the Blues rookies gives us just a glimpse at what will filter down in the coming years. No more big free agent signings, no more headline stealing trades, and no more “sell the farm” tactics. Yes, the Blues prospects are good; very good! Maybe even under rated. Read more»

Sabres Report: Training Camp Preview

by Ken McKenna
on

With the beginning of the Buffalo Sabres ’99 training camp just a day away, this would be a good time to present a camp preview. The main purpose of this article will be to speculate which Sabre prospects, if any, will make a push to stay with the big club. The Sabres have seven restricted free agents, as well as one unrestricted free agent, so it is possible that some younger players will be thrown into the fire until the veterans arrive. Given the fact that the Sabres are coming off a Stanley Cup final appearance, however, it is unlikely that many of the prospects will make the Sabres roster on merit, since there would be few roster spots available without the training camp holdouts.

I’m going to break down each position, listing the incumbents (veterans) and prospects at each position, and follow that with a brief analysis identifying which prospects, if any, have an opportunity to make the Sabre roster. An asterisk (*) next to a name denotes either a restricted or unrestricted free agent. There will be instances where a player’s name will appear at more than one position, which means that the player is not exclusively used at a certain position.

Center

Incumbents

- Mike Peca, Curtis Brown *, Stu Barnes *, Wayne Primeau *, Joe Juneau *, Brian Holzinger

Prospects

- Mike Zigomanis, Brad Moran, Francois Methot, Aaron Goldade, Kamil Piros, Brad Self
Read more»