To some, this ranking may be a little low.
That line of thinking is understandable, based solely on Ramage’s professional pedigree-his father, Rob, played over 1000 games in the NHL, including 80 with the Calgary Flames, where he won a Stanley Cup. Ramage was drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 draft with the 103rd overall pick, and he hasn’t really gotten any attention since that’s happened. Ramage was already in his first year of college with the University of Wisconsin Badgers in 2010, so Darryl Sutter must’ve seen something different from the 10-point season he put up in his last year with the USNDTP U-18 team.
Ramage was never projected as anything but a shutdown defender, unlike his dad, who managed a .5 PPG pace in the NHL. John’s size isn’t overwhelming; being listed between 5’11 and 6’1 height-wise and 184-195 weight-wise. That doesn’t mean he can’t chuck the body around, though:
For those interested in leadership capabilities, it should behoove you to know that Ramage was the Captain of the Wisconsin Badgers this year, a team that went 17-18-2-0 and had a season classified as mostly disappointing. He’s just finished his junior season, and as far as I know the Flames haven’t signed him to an entry-level deal, so he’ll likely be back.
Personally, it was hard for me to rank Ramage-he’s only 21 and of course we all know the cliché about shutdown defenseman and taking a long time to develop. I was able to catch one game the Badgers played this year-their 3-2 loss to Denver in the WCHA playoffs.
*Reminder – The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he’s already a bona fide NHLer).
I’ll admit, the reason I was curious about the game was because I wanted to see this Justin Schultz fellow that everyone seems to want. He looked good. Ramage? Didn’t really notice him until he took a dumb roughing (I think) penalty and then Denver proceeded to score the tying goal on that PP.
I still have pro hopes for Ramage, but his point totals the past three years (12, 11, 10) basically seal in the thinking that he is a one-dimensional player who doesn’t struggle to move around the ice like his bigger shut-down counterparts on the farm. Who knows, maybe he can parlay that lack of cement-skates and excellent pedigree into a job on the big club.