It's official, Mike Eaves has his captain back. In a tweet this afternoon, Badger defenseman John Ramage confirmed that he's returning to Madison for his final season of eligibility.
Ramage wore the captain's "C" last season for Eaves. Justin Schultz and Ryan Little were alternates. The other two times that captains returned during Eaves tenure? 2005-2006 when Adam Burish returned to lead the Badgers to the NCAA title, and 2009-2010 when Ben Street and Blake Geoffrion helped take Wisconsin to the Frozen Four.
Ramage, who was taken by Calgary in the fourth round (#103 overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft had been contemplating between returning for his senior season, and 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.
The return of Ramage should help solidify a Badger blue-line that has some question marks. Wisconsin graduated Eric Springer, and lost freshman Patrick Daly who decided to transfer to D-3 St. Thomas. The Badgers are also expected to lose Justin Schultz to the NHL this summer.
Ramage will be expected to play big minutes next season. Joe Faust, Frankie Simonelli, and Jake McCabe are also expected to play bigger roles for the Badgers.
Wisconsin plans to bring in two freshman blue-liners next season. White Bear Lake, MN native Kevin Schulze (Omaha, USHL), and Burnsville, MN native Eddie Wittchow (Waterloo, MN) are expected to step in and play immediately.
PS...here's a little video reminder of what Ramage brings to the table.
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