Midseason Grade: NA
Final Grade: INC
Joined Team: Acquired from San Jose on June 1, 2006 for a 2007 6th round pick.
MHH Nicknames: None yet
- Hannan (6)
- Peltier (3)
- Nycholat (1)
- Clark (1)
- Liles (1)
- TOT 19:39 (7th)
- EV 16:53 (7th)
- PK 2:13 (7th)
- SH :32 (8th)
*Rank is based on total minutes, not average per game.
Best Month: April (6gp, 0 pts, -1)
Career Highlights: Vernace made his NHL debut this season. He is still looking for his first NHL point.
Report: Of the 17,431 players who made their NHL debut for the Avalanche last year, three showed signs of being ready (or almost-ready) for the big show. Vernace would be one of those players (ironically, we're covering all three in consecutive days this week).
12 games isn't a lot to go on, but Vernace seemed remarkably poised in his own end. He wasn't afraid to use his 6'2"-200lb frame as his 1.67 hits per game was tops among Avalanche defensemen. He also seemed to have a knack to calmly diffuse trouble by making a simple play to get the puck out of the danger zone. Perhaps the steady play won't hold up under the pressures of an 82-game season, but he seems to have definitely earned another look.
Offensively, Vernace didn't show much with no points and just 9 shots. I don't believe he's projected to have much impact offensively. He did have a 72-point season in the OHL...but that year he was dishing off to a stud muffin forward named Wojtek Wolski.
Fun Fact: Trading for Vernace was Francois Giguere's first official transaction as GM. Drafting tomorrow's contestant was his second.
The Michael Vernace Drinking Game: Drink when Vernace hits someone Drunk potential: Fair, but rising.
What I Said Last Year: N/A
2008 Salary (and Cap Number): $495K ($487K)
2009-2010 Status: RFA (Due a minimum QO of $544,500)
Outlook for 2009: Vernace averaged 19 minutes a game in his short call-up this spring and played well. At the very least, I would expect that Vernace has a shot at making the roster in the fall as a 7th defenseman and it's possible that he could be counted on for an even bigger role if the Avalanche move a couple of the
stiffs er, veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. That's not to say he's guaranteed to excel, but I am looking forward to seeing how he progresses.
Next Up: Chris Stewart