2009-10: John Draeger, who played his youth hockey in Edina, skated for the U16 team at Minnesota’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. In 53 games he scored 1 goal with 9 assists. Shattuck finished with a record of 42-9-2 and reached the quarterfinals of the USA Hockey U16 Tier 1 championships, falling to the North Jersey Avalanche, 3-1.
2010-11: Draeger moved up to the prep team as a junior at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School prep team. In 54 games he scored 3 goals with 8 assists and had 18 penalty minutes. Shattuck finished the season 45-6-3 and defeated the Mid-Fairfield (Ct.) Blues to win the USA Hockey Tier 1 U18 National Championship.
2011-12: Draeger was the leading scorer amongst defensemen in his second season with the Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep team and committed to playing college hockey at Michigan State in 2012-13. In 57 games he scored 11 goals with 30 assists and had 36 penalty minutes. Shattuck won its second straight U18 Tier 1 national championship – defeating the LA Kings, 2-1. Draeger was ranked 106th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings and was selected by Minnesota in the third round (68th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Draeger played in 42 games for Michigan State as a freshman. Playing on the Spartans top pairing with junior Jake Chelios, he scored 1 goal with 9 assists and was -8 with 22 penalty minutes. Michigan State finished last in the CCHA. The Spartans upset champion Miami in the first game of their best-of-three playoff series but lost the next two games to finish the season 14-25-3.
2013-14: Draeger skated in 24 games for Michigan State in his sophomore season — re-joining the Spartans at the end of November after recovering from a knee injury. He had 8 assists with 16 penalty minutes and had an even plus/minus. Michigan State finished fifth in the six-team Big Ten hockey conference in the league’s inaugural season; falling to fourth-place Ohio State, 2-1 in overtime, in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
2014-15: Draeger played in 28 of 35 games for Michigan State in his junior season — making his season debut with the Spartans on October 31st after recovering from off-season surgery and then missing time in mid-season with an upper-body injury. He scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was +4 with 6 penalty minutes. Michigan State struggled to stay over .500 but finished second in the competitive Big 10 Conference, ending the season on a down note with a 4-1 loss to rival Michigan in the conference semifinals.
2015-16: Draeger skated in all 37 games in his senior season at Michigan State. He scored 1 goal with 7 assists and was -16 with 12 penalty minutes in what was a challenging season for the Spartans. Michigan State finished fifth in the Big 10, falling to Ohio State, 4-3 in overtime in the conference tournament to end the year 10-23-4.
Draeger is a defensively aware player with offensive instincts. He skates well and uses his awareness to prevent scoring opportunities and create plays off the transition. Injuries have hampered Draeger throughout his college career but when healthy he logs a lot of ice time.
Draeger concluded his college career at Michigan State in 2015-16, skating in all 37 games for the Spartans as a senior. Selected in the same 2012 NHL Draft in which the Wild drafted Matt Dumba in the first round, Draeger's development at Michigan State was slowed by injuries and a Spartans' squad that sometimes struggled. He would become an unrestricted free agent if he is not signed by the Wild and with several defensemen in the organization's pipeline that is a possibility. Draeger projects as a solid, stay-at-home defender with limited offensive upside.