It appears that Mike Eaves will have his captain back next season. According to a tweet from Andy Baggot, Wisconsin defenseman John Ramage will likely be back for his senior season in Madison.
Wisconsin junior defenseman John Ramage says it's "looking more and more like I'll be coming back" instead of signing with Calgary.— Andy Baggot (@AndyBaggotWSJ) April 13, 2012
Ramage, who was taken by Calgary in the fourth round (#103 overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft has been contemplating between returning for a fourth year of eligibility, or signing with the Flames.
The St. Louis native captained the Badgers last season to a 17-18-2 record. Son of former NHLer Rob Ramage, John recorded 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 37 games for the Badgers as a junior. Ramage has 33 points in 115 career games for the Badgers.
In a recent article in the Calgary Herald, Flames player development coach Ron Sutter was very complimentary of Ramage.
"I look at John as being a hard, two-way guy to play against," Sutter said. "To play at the pro level, there are things he'll need to improve on, beginning with his quickness. But he's a kid that's gone through a lot of personal things in the last couple years. He's figuring out his body as far as nutrition."
Ramage had an up and down junior season for the Badgers. Asked to take an expanded role for the 2011-12 season, Ramage at times found himself out of position after trying to do too much.
Ramage was also on the bad end of some terrible luck last season. He was the victim of being in the wrong spot at the wrong time on more than one occasion with shots on goal bouncing off the Wisconsin captain in into the back of the Badger net.
Ramage was also ejected from two contests last season on calls that can only be explained as mindbogglingly awful.
The exciting thing for Wisconsin fans was the way that Ramage bounced back as the season went along. The junior blue-liner rebounded in the second half of the season and was a dominant force down the stretch for the Badgers.
Wisconsin has already lost defensemen Eric Springer to graduation, as well as freshman Patrick Daly who decided to quit hockey to focus on school. The Badgers are also expected to lose Justin Schultz to the NHL at some point this summer.
With two freshman defensemen in Eddie Wittchow (Waterloo, USHL) and Kevin Schulze (Omaha, USHL) expected to play big roles next season on the Badger blue-line, the veteran presence of Ramage could go a long ways towards success for Wisconsin next season.
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