Vernace was drafted 201st overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft from the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. On June 1, 2006, Vernace was traded by the Sharks to the Colorado Avalanche for a 6th round drafts pick and was signed to an entry level contract. Vernace made his professional debut with the Arizona Sundogs of the CHL before joining the Avalanche’s affiliate the Albany River Rats of the AHL in the 2006–07 season.

After not being offered a contract with the Avalanche, Vernace a free agent, signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Thrashers on July 30, 2009. On June 23, 2010, Vernace was traded by the Thrashers, along with Brett Sterling and a 7th round selection in 2010 NHL Entry Draft, back to the Sharks for future considerations in order to help the Thrashers facilitate an earlier trade of Dustin Byfuglien from the Chicago Blackhawks. Unable to come to terms with San Jose, Vernace signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 29, 2010, to a one year, two-way contract. On December 2, 2011, Vernace was traded by the Lightning, along with James Wright, to the Florida Panthers for Mike Kostka and Evan Oberg. However, his time there was short lived, as on February 25, 2012, Vernace was traded by the Panthers to the New York Rangers, along with a third round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, for Wojtek Wolski.

Last season, while playing with the Connecticut Whale, the defenseman was good enough for eight goals and 35 points in 69 games.

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