As per tradition, I’m here to give you my incredibly professional and peer reviewed scouting report on the Capitals prospects’ draft day fashion performances.
Though draft day fashion has improved over the years – goodbye, oversized white shirts and skinny ties! – the NHL continues to lag behind the NBA. This year’s NBA draft class got a photo spread in the New Yorker. The NHL is nowhere near that level of media crossover!
You may be asking yourself – why does this matter? One may correctly point out that wearing a semi-decent suit on draft day has zero impact on a prospect’s on-ice play.
Now, let me just list out some names for you: Henrik Lundqvist, PK Subban, David Pastrnak, Mat Barzal.
All of these men match strong performances on the ice with exceptional fits off the ice. Mat Barzal’s velvet suit on draft day was the kind of risk we expect from a Calder winner (though I still hate the skinny tie).
One might argue that having the confidence to rock a bold print translates to confidence on ice. One might also argue that I am falling victim to the post hoc, ergo proctor hoc logical fallacy to which I say – probably! Intangibles.
Second question: what are my credentials? Well, as someone who has like zero disposable income but also spends much of her time window-shopping online and knows the entire Miranda Priestly monologue from The Devil Wears Prada, I certainly feel as though I have the bona fides for this task.
Now, let’s get to it.
Connor McMichael - Round One, Pick 25
With their first round pick, the Capitals took Connor McMichael from the London Knights.
Upon first glance, I was decidedly unimpressed with McMichael’s suit. Connor McMichael very much sounds like the name of a character on a CW teen dramedy about an Ontarian hockey team (Note: I am sure he is a nice lad and I am very glad to have him on the Capitals, but his name does make him sound like Connor McDavid’s Tether.)
However, upon further review of the game tape I was pleased to realize that his suit DID in fact have a subtle patterning to it.
I’m certainly not mad about it, but I’m not blown away. The fit is perfectly serviceable, though the leg looks a little wide-fitted. The navy striped suit is a reliable and safe choice for all situations, much like you would want in a second or third line center. However, the navy dotted tie and maroon pocket square do little to make anything really pop.
Given that it’s the Caps’ first pick in the first in five years, I’d love to see a little more of a wow factor. That said, I respect the choice of a suit that won’t make you facepalm when you look back ten years later.
Brett Leason – Round 2, Pick 56
With their second round pick, the Capitals took Prince Albert Raiders winger Brett Leason. Leason, an overager at 20, also took home the E.J. McGuire Award for Excellence prior to the start of the draft.
All in all, this is a very serviceable suit. The Yale blue is a slightly more interesting shade than the typical navy, but is still a rather safe sartorial choice. I also recognize that it is quite challenging to find a suit that both accommodates your height and doesn’t overwhelm your frame when you’re 6’4”.
I will, however, say this: I really, really, really hate ties with horizontal stripes. They have a sort of wrongness to them akin to bagels cut like bread. They look like weird worms. If you want to achieve a similar level of bland without making me want to vom, I suggest a dotted tie.
That being said, when you go with a classic suit like the one Leason chose, the tie is the perfect opportunity to elevate an otherwise unremarkable fit. This daisy-printed tie from The Tie Bar, for instance, would maintain Leason’s color scheme while also adding a touch of personality.
Aliaksei Protas – Round Three, Pick 91
With their third round pick, the Capitals nabbed another Prince Albert prospect in Aliaksei Protas. Protas is another large lad at 6’5”, so I was happy to see that he seemed to get his fit right. Honestly? I’m not mad about it. It’s a bit of a wedding party look, but the darker pants do maintain the formal look characteristic of draft day.
However, this particular mismatched blazer and suit pants pairing does remind me of an intern I once worked with who went to Brown and could rarely talk about anything that wasn’t Going to Brown.
Upon closer inspection, I was delighted to see that Protas incorporated a subtle patterning via his button up. Much like Cale Makar’s light blue polka dotted shirt in the 2017 draft, Protas’ white daisy medallion pattern is a nice understated touch to an otherwise safe option.
Martin Haš – Round Five, Pick 153
With their fourth and final pick of the draft, the Capitals selected Czech right-handed defenseman Martin Haš.
Okay, so I actually could not find a full picture of his suit. I did my best sleuthing but, alas, it could not be done.
Fear not, loyal reader! Do you think I would give up 891 words into this write-up? Never.
So let’s break down what we do know:
He is definitely wearing a white shirt. And dark pants and a dark tie. Cool.
Y’know what? Much like the potential impact of a late round draft pick, there’s a level of mystique surrounding Haš’s draft day outfit. I applaud him for (unintentionally) keeping his cards close to his chest.
Not Capitals, But Still Iconic
If you’ve stuck with me this long, I applaud you for listening to me drivel on about suits for nearly 1,000 words. Please bear with me for approximately 300 more, as these suits simply could not go unrecognized.
Jack Hughes – Round One, Pick One
USNTDP product Jack Hughes went first overall, and for good reason!
A self-proclaimed fashion lover, Hughes picked a navy and maroon plaid suit for his big night. The coloring of the suit paired with the understated pattern is perfect for someone of Hughes’ stature, as it draws the eyes without overwhelming his frame with too much of a pattern.
In conclusion, we have no choice but to stan.
Cole Caufield – Round One, Pick 15
Let me preface by saying this: each team that let Cole Caufield pass them by because he is short is truly my enemy. Did you not get the memo? It is SHORT. KING. SEASON.
I personally felt incredibly attacked by seeing his tiny smiley face get progressively more perturbed as teams passed him by.
Okay, moving on to his suit. The diminutive forward went with a Yale blue plaid suit and a navy tie. Nothing remarkable at first, yeah? That’s what I thought too, until I saw THIS:
We love an outfit reveal! Caufield’s otherwise passable suit was hiding a zany lining littered with colorful comic book text. It’s very Mighty Mouse of him and incredibly iconic. Dare I say it’s a commentary on how, at first glance, NHL teams underestimated him? Who’s to say!
This Kid – Undrafted
Every year, there is a family member who upstages the draftee with their stellar suit game.
In 2017, it was Ryan Suzuki upstaging brother Nick with this Vineyard Vines meets Bill Nye getup.
In 2019, it was this kid with Peyton Krebs in the millennial pink (possibly linen) suit.
This suit is perfect for any summertime event, be it your family member’s draft day or a wedding in Hyannis Port for a former college friend whose wedding you’re suprised to be invited to (but you’ll be damned if you don’t look good attending it). This suit says, why yes, I do think that Aperol spritzes are Actually Good. In a sea full of navy blue suits...be a salmon.
And finally, my third and favorite draft day out fit is...
Moritz Seider – Round One, Pick Six
Seider was already turning heads when the Detroit Red Wings called his name at sixth overall, but it was his sartorial sense that kept you looking.
Let’s break down this outfit: We’ve got another navy suit, but this one has a subtle white plaid patterning to it. The polka dotted bowtie. But most importantly, the flow.
Taken as whole, in his moment of surprise Seider looks like a liberal arts college professor who’s just as confused as you are as to why he is even here.
Plus, the Red Wings were sure to let Seider have his Pantene Pro V hair flip moment, and we love that for him.
With the draft over, I must ask the question that has yet to go unanswered by the universe: WHEN will the hero rise up and rock a floral suit at the draft? Here’s hoping that the next crop of Gen Z hockey players answers my call.