Growing up in the Toronto area, Vernace began playing the first of three seasons with the Humberview Huskies in 98-99. Named the Huskies’ top defenseman each season, Vernace moved on to the Mississauga Reps of the Greater Toronto Hockey League in 2001-02, playing for the Reps again in 2002-03.
Drafted by the Brampton Battalion in the 2003 OHL Priority Selection Draft in the ninth round with the 163rd overall pick, Vernace was assigned to Brampton’s Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League affiliate Bramalea Blues. Scoring three goals and 12 assists in 33 games with the Blues, Vernace was recalled by the Battalion for the final two games of the OHL regular season.
Vernace scored two goals in these two games and went on to lead Brampton in playoff scoring amongst defenseman with 2 goals and 3 assists in 11 games.
On the strength of a strong OHL playoff performance, the San Jose Sharks drafted Vernace in the seventh round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft with the 201st overall pick. Traded to Colorado in 2006.
2007-08: Vernace, who appeared in a team-high 79 games, led all AHL Lake Erie defensemen with 29 points in his first full season in the American Hockey League. He also led all Lake Erie blueliners in assists (26), the third most on the team and recorded 59 penalty minutes on the season.
Vernace is an offensive defenseman with strong puck skills and passing abilities. Possessing good agility and shifty speed, Vernace must hone his unorthodox skating style. The young defenseman also needs to improve his positional play away from the puck.
Vernace should at least become a good puckmoving defenseman at the AHL level.