Calgary Flames fans are getting a taste of the future Saturday afternoon, as rookies Sam Bennett, John Ramage and Brett Kulak are making their NHL debuts against the Winnipeg Jets.
Ramage, of course, played college hockey at Wisconsin and was a two-year captain his junior and senior seasons for the Badgers. In four seasons in Madison, Ramage registered 53 points in 157 career games.
A hard-nosed, rugged defenseman, Ramage helped Wisconsin to a WCHA playoff championship during his senior season, and played in the Frozen Four as a freshman in 2010. Ramage was also a two-time participant in the World Junior Championships with the United States, and was the team captain in 2011.
Ramage split last season between the ECHL and AHL, spending the majority of the season in the AHL with the Abbotsford Heat. Calgary's AHL affiliate this season moved to Adirondack, and Ramage followed, registering 14 points in 53 games to go along with 77 penalty minutes.
By playing today for the Flames, Ramage is the 21st former Wisconsin player to skate in the NHL this season. Even more impressive is the fact all six defensemen from Wisconsin's 2010 national runner-up team -- Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers), Justin Schultz (Edmonton Oilers), Brendan Smith (Detroit Red Wings), Cody Goloubef (Columbus Blue Jackets), Jake Gardiner (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Ramage -- have now played in the NHL this season.
Update: Joe Piskula suited up for the Nashville Predators on Saturday as well, giving the Badgers 22 players in the NHL during the 2014-15 season. That ties Boston College for the most in college hockey this season.
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