Panthers acquire Vernace and Wright from Tampa Bay in exchange for Kostka and Oberg

Florida Panthers Assistant General Manager Michael Santos announced today that the club has acquired center James Wright and defenseman Mike Vernace from the Tampa Bay Lightning, in exchange for defensemen Mike Kostka and Evan Oberg.

“Both James and Mike are two players with National Hockey League experience who add further depth to our organization,” said Santos. “James is a big, young forward and Mike is a hard working defenseman who will start by playing important roles on our American Hockey League team in San Antonio.”

Wright, 21, has played in 22 games with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) this season, registering five points (1-4-5) and six PIM. The 6-foot-3, 196-pound center has skated in 49 games with Tampa Bay in three professional seasons, recording five points (2-3-5) and 18 PIM. The Saskatoon native, who was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round (117th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, has also played in 102 games with Norfolk over his career, recording 52 points (17-35-52).

Vernace, 25, has recorded 12 points (2-10-12) in 22 games with Norfolk this season. The 6-foot, 216-pound defenseman has played in 22 games in the NHL over his six-year professional career, registering an assist and 10 PIM. The Toronto native, who was a seventh round pick (201st overall) of the San Jose Sharks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, has played in 326 games in the AHL with Albany, Lake Erie, Chicago, Hamilton and Norfolk, recording 111 points (18-93-111).

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