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.

 

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»

The Weekend Warrior

by Randy Nicholson
on

Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.

Ownership changes loom: According to published reports this week, the Toronto Dominion Bank’s shares in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. are now for sale … several concerns within the ownership group of MLSEL (including both Larry Tanenbaum and Steve Stavro) are said to be interested in acquiring all or part of this package, thought to be worth approximately $120 million CDN … it has been confirmed that a standard agreement is in place whereby any available shares must be offered to the other shareholders in proportion to their current ownership stakes … that means neither Stavro nor Tanenbaum, whose relationship is said by those in the know to be indifferent at best, can gain any more control than they already have … moreover, nothing would really change substantively even if one or the other acquired the TD’s entire position … however, should an outside investor seek to gain control, Stavro and/or Tanenbaum could become important power brokers – as useful in preventing control from shifting as they would be in assisting someone to gain full control … last September, BCE (which controls the CTV network) and the powerful Thomson family announced a new $4-billion joint venture into electronic media … BCE/Thomson is anxious to acquire the broadcast interests of MLSEL, though not necessarily the entire company … if this is not possible Read more»

Defense Statistics

by Megan Sexton
on

Player

Team

League

GP

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