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