It'll take a few years to grade the 2011 NHL draft because the teenagers being picked tonight won't begin making an impact in the league right away. Some will return to the juniors, some will play in the minors, some will play college hockey. Only a few will crack the NHL in the next year or so.
But we can make make judgements about their attire right here, right now.
The Edmonton Oilers have made Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the top pick. Here he is signing an autograph just before the start of the draft. Never mind his suit for now, and never mind him. Sign up that giant kid!
Here are the sartorial winners and losers from St. Paul. We'll keep adding slides as the picks are announced.
As the top pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sets the tone for the night. Or, well, at least he's the first one up on stage. He's gone simple and conservative, with a dark suit with a mildly flamboyant purple paisley tie.
The trouble is, he looks like he's getting ready to go to his graduation. His middle school graduation. That's a hazard of being an 18-year-old, 165-pounder with a baby face. At least the tie's not a clip-on, and the suit does not appear to be from the Garanimals collection.
But Ryan, you have a grown-up job now. Lose the lollipop.
Landeskog goes with a conservative dark suit. Hmmm. Getting the idea here that this isn't exactly the NBA Draft in terms of the haberdashery.
One of the people in his group, maybe his brother, had a pink shirt on. Flashiest move so far.
Here, Landeskog walks into the Xcel Energy Center this afternoon with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau. Landeskog is the one in the conservative dark suit.
In the middle.
Grade: B (points for no lollipop)
That's Jonathan Huberdeau on the right on the last slide. He's the one in the dark suit. Here he is in his Saint John Sea Dogs rompers.
Adam Larsson goes with...well, take a wild guess.
Here he is putting on his new New Jersey Devils sweater. He gets a slight bump in his grade for looking, in certain photos, though not this one, a little like a young Michael York.
A slightly lighter suit! Is that dark green? This is big. Ryan Strome will do well in New York with his high style. It counts as high style on Long Island, doesn't it?
We don't have a photo of his draft night suit yet, so here he is skating for Team Cherry 2011 Home Hardware Top Prospects game in Toronto in January.
The Swede Mika Zibanejad goes with a dark suit, white shirt and a gray tie with white diagonal stripes. One of the people he hugs on the announcement of his pick is a pregnant-looking woman in a leopard dress.
He gets an A for that. We're grading on a curve here.
Here's Zibanejad on Sweden's national Under-18 team.
Photo: Wikipedia, Creative Commons
Mark Scheifele becomes the first pick ever by the new-school Winnipeg Jets and flashes a lavender shirt-and-tie combination, which takes the lead for the best look of the night, even though Regis Philbin just called from 2000 and he wants his Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? suit back.
Once again the photo agencies aren't quick enough with the pix so here's Scheifele in his duds from the Home Hardware Top Prospects game in January.
Clothing fail. Fashion fail.
Come on, Sean. If you're name is Couturier, you need to bring it with the duds. You need to be the star of the show.
Pinstripes. Dougie Hamilton's a smart guy, a scholastic superstar as well as being a top hockey prospect. If the hockey thing doesn't work out, he looks like he'll be right at home in a boardroom somewhere.
He'd have gotten an A from me if he'd dressed it up with a feather boa or some giant sunglasses or something, but at least the pinstripes make him stand out a bit.
Brodin wears a red tie, which is at least a little flash of bright color, but we're beginning to be worn down here by the conservative dark suits.
Sorry, Jonas, you can appeal this grade because it's totally unfair. Your outfit's no worse than any of the guys ahead of you, but...
A blue shirt and white tie gives Duncan Siemens that senior sales associate look.
He looks better in red, don't you think? And fighting. In fact, getting into a fight in his draft-night suit would probably give him a nice look for Independence Day.
A purple-tie, blue-shirt look is at least a little different, in a clashy kind of way.
Sven Baertschi will have to overcome his small stature if he's going to succeed in the NHL. He's going to have to understand you can wear colors on clothes that aren't hockey sweaters if he hopes to skate in the fashion big leagues.
At 6'7", Jamie Oleksiak could be rocking an NBA-style draft-night suit. How about a LeBron James white suit? How about those yards of bright green or blue fabric that drapes your average small forward.
Nah. Gray. A lot of gray.
Armia's a tall kid who pears a white shirt with diagonal stripes on his tie. It's a nice clean look that implies a hint of...zzzzzzzzz.
It adds a little bit of Scandinavian charm to the proceedings that as Armia walks up to stage, his shirt tail is out. I don't know why that is Scandinavian charm, particularly, but it adds a little bit of anti-style to the proceedings.
Here's Armia playing for the Finnish Under-20 team.
Nathan Beaulieu sounds like he ought to be a Quebecois going to the home team, but he's actually from Strathroy, Ontario. And you're not going to believe this, but he's got a conservative dark suit on.
He's dressing it up a bit with an '80s stockbroker vibe, a lavender pinstriped shirt with a white collar and a white tie.
In this crowd, it's a nice look, and I'm giving him a good grade to make up for the lunkheads in the St. Paul crowd who booed and chanted, "USA! USA!," when they heard Canadiens officials speaking a little French.
Perfect. An A. It's a conservative look, but Mark McNeill must have known something.
One black suit jacket, one pair of black suit pants. One white shirt. One black tie. All he's missing is the fedora. He's dressed like a Blues Brother, and he gets picked by Chicago.
Oscar goes with a gray suit. He looks very tidy.
Connor Murphy has a lavender shirt and a purple tie, not quite the lavender-on-lavender look Mark Scheifele had.
Murphy hasn't played much hockey over the last couple of years because of injuries. That means he had a lot of time to go clothes shopping. He should have stepped up here.
I'm sensing a theme. Stefan Noesen is purple too, only his shirt is light and dark purple stripes, and his tie is...purple.
Got to mark you down for originality, Stefan.
I'm a sucker for the color blue of Tyler Biggs' shirt. His black-and-blue tie isn't anything to write home about, but then again, are you really writing home about any of this stuff?
One of these cats busts out some tight white pants, I might write home.
Joe Morrow goes with a gray suit and a purple shirt. What is the deal with the hockey kids and purple this year?
How about a purple suit, fellas?
Here's Morrow in the 2011 Home Hardware Top Prospects game.
Matt Puempel's a tough guy. Not so much on the ice, but with his clothing choice tonight. He's gone all black: black suit, black shirt, black tie.
It's a pretty good look, as long as you're going to forgo all colors except maybe purple, which the NHL rookie class of 2011-12 seems to have done.
Stuart Percy is ready for the junior executive training program. He's conservative even by the standards of the NHL Draft, which means he's somewhere to the right of Prince Charles, sartorially speaking.
He's got a gray suit, white shirt and plaid tie.
He looked a lot better in his Mississauga St. Michael's Majors duds.
Phillip Danault goes with pretty much the Stuart Percy look, only with a light blue tie. He should have gone with the Blues Brothers' look, like new teammate Mark McNeill.
At long last! Vladislav Namestnikov lets his freak flag fly with no shirt, a gold sequined vest, love beads, tight red vinyl pants, pointy-toed boots and a floppy cowboy hat.
Just kidding. Charcoal suit.
Zack Phillips gets a warm reception from the crowd at the Xcel Energy Center, home of his new team.
Of course, you're always happy when the guy shows up to fix the Xerox machine, and that's what Phillips looks like in his dull suit.
Nicklas Jensen is a Dane, and his suit makes me melancholy. He's got a light blue shirt he picked up at the J.C. Penney, and he's paired it with a black tie.
Rickard Rakell rocks a pink shirt, which at least isn't a white shirt and isn't purple, though let's face it: It's almost purple.
They came from all over Europe and North America tonight, and not one of them had an interesting outfit.
Nothing but charcoal, black or gray suits.
Let's just say it's a good thing these kids can play hockey.