The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Mike Vernace to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Vernace, 6-foot, 216 pounds, skated in 10 games with the Lightning last season, his first with the club, recording one assist. He spent the majority of the 2010-11 campaign with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, where he notched an AHL career-high seven goals and also added 21 assists for a total of 28 points in 68 games played. While in Norfolk, Vernace tied for second among team defensemen in assists and also placed third for points. He also went on to appear in six Calder Cup Playoff games with the Admirals, registering a pair of assists.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Vernace has appeared in 304 career AHL games with Norfolk, the Hamilton Bulldogs, Chicago Wolves, Lake Erie Monsters and Albany River Rats, amassing 16 goals and 99 points. He has skated in a total of 22 NHL games between the Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche, recording one assist.
Vernace was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the seventh round, 201st overall, at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He was then acquired by Colorado from San Jose in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2007 on June 1, 2006. He was signed as a free agent by the Atlanta Thrashers on July 30, 2009 before being acquired, also as a free agent, by the Lightning on July 29, 2010.