Neal returns to Fuel

Veteran forward Michael Neal is returning to the Indy Fuel, as the team announced he has agreed to terms Thursday.

Michael Neal tallied 23 points in 22 games with the Fuel in the spring. Photo by Whiteshark Photography.

Neal’s signing gives the Fuel three of their four allotted veterans, joining forwards Cam Reid and Geoff Walker.

Neal joined the Fuel late in the 2016-17 season, flying in from Germany to suit up for a Sunday afternoon game. From there, he was a lineup mainstay, tallying 11 goals and 12 assists in 21 games.

A fifth-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2007, Neal has played 421 ECHL games since 2009, with 84 goals and 121 assists. He also has three goals in 22 AHL games, and tallied 22 points in 31 games in Germany last season. His best ECHL season came in 2014-15, when he had 19 goals and 20 assists in 60 games for Cincinnati and Kalamazoo. He was producing at a point-per-game clip after joining the Fuel in the spring, helping lead the team’s end-of-season surge.

At 6-3, 220, Neal adds to the Fuel’s stable of big forwards. He is the younger brother of Nashville Predators forward and NHL James Neal.

Neal’s signing gives the Fuel nine forwards and five defensemen under contract for the upcoming season. He is the fifth player from the 2016-17 roster to join the team, joining Nick Bligh, Matt Rupert, Travis Armstrong and Chris Williams.

Forwards (9)

  • Nick Bligh (6-0, 185, Milton, Mass.). Age: 24. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: South Carolina Stingrays/Adirondack Thunder/Indy Fuel (ECHL)
  • Matt Johnson (6-1, 204, Clinton Township, Mich.). Age: 26. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL)
  • (V) Michael Neal (6-3, 220, Whitby, Ont.). Age: 28. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Sonthofen (Germany)/Indy Fuel (ECHL)
  • (V) Cam Reid (6-2, 187, Delta, B.C.). Age: 25. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Ravensburg (Germany)/Heilbronner (Germany)/Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
  • (R) Connor Reilly (6-0, 180, Chanhassen, Minn.). Age: 25. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Minnesota (NCAA)
  • Matt Rupert (5-8, 175, London, Ont.). Age: 23. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)
  • Ryan Rupert (5-8, 173, London, Ont.). Age: 23 Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Binghamton Senators (AHL)/Wichita Thunder (ECHL)
  • Andrew Schmit (6-5, 220, Grafton, Wis.). Age: 25. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: Pensacola Ice Flyers (SPHL)
  • (V) Geoff Walker (6-3, 225, Charlottetown, PEI). Age: 29. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: Fassa (Alps)/Sheffield Steelers (Britain)

Defensemen (5)

  • Travis Armstrong (6-5, 215, Smith Falls, Ont.). Age: 27. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Roanoke (SPHL)/Norfolk/Brampton/Manchester/Idaho/Indy (ECHL)
  • Garrett Clarke (6-1, 205, Windsor, N.S.). Age: 24. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Brampton Beast (ECHL)
  • (R) Anthony Cortese (5-11, 185, Pierrefonds, Que.). Age: 23. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: Concordia University (OUAA)
  • Nolan Descoteaux (6-1, 205, Dallas, Tex.). Age: 27. Shoots: L. 2016-17 team: Missouri Mavericks/Alaska Aces (ECHL)
  • Chris Williams (6-2, 220, Pottstown, Pa.). Age: 26. Shoots: R. 2016-17 team: Indy Fuel (ECHL)