Mike Vernace(7) Tampa Bay Lightning / Norfolk Admirals

I love stories like this one.  6th year pro, defenseman Mike Vernace(7) was a San Jose Sharks 7th round draft pick in 2004 (#201 overall) but never signed with the team. He eventually signed a one-year two-way deal with Colorado Avalanche and started his rookie season with Central Hockey League‘s Arizona Sundogs before moving up to the AHL with Albany River Rats.

He spent another couple of seasons in the Avalanche system and even got his first 12 NHL games under his belt in 2008-2009.

He wasn’t resigned for at the end of 2009 and signed with Atlanta Thrashers but didn’t appear in the NHL, although he played for two different AHL teams, first Chicago Wolves, then Hamilton Bulldogs, where he got his first playoff experience

Last year he signed a free agent deal with Tampa Bay Lightning, played 10 more games in the NHL and got an assist, his first point in the show.

In 2011/2012 he’ll be back for his second season in the Lightning system.



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