As Angélique "Alt-0233" Murray reported last night, it appears that unrestricted free agent defenseman Michael Vernace has been signed by the Atlanta Thrashers to a 1-year, $500,000 2-way contract. Vernace, of course, was a RFA with the Avalanche this summer, but the team did not tender him the minimum $544,000 qualifying offer.
When I graded Vernace back on June 1st, I felt he was the best of the d-man call-ups last year and felt he had a decent shot at making our roster this fall as a 7th defenseman. Certainly the additions of Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing and Jim Fahey (*giggle*) would have negated that opportunity (which leads me to believe the Smyth deal was already in the works in late June). Still, sorry to see Vernace go - I don't think this is quite in the "lost-asset" category that we're putting Nigel Williams in, but he seemed like a useful depth guy to have around. Best of luck with Atlanta, Michael.