Is It Too Early in the Rebuild for the Chicago Blackhawks to Host the Winter Classic?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks officially announced they will host the St. Louis Blues at Wrigley Field in next year's NHL Winter Classic.

It will be the second time the Friendly Confines has hosted one of the NHL's premier events. The Hawks lost 6-4 to the Detroit Red Wings when Wrigley last hosted.

This will be the fifth Winter Classic the Chicago Blackhawks participate in and the third one they host. The Hawks hosted the Boston Bruins in 2019 at Notre Dame Stadium. The Bruins won 4-2.

The Blackhawks have also played in two Stadium Series games. They hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014 at Soldier Field and played the Wild at TCF Bank Stadium in 2016.

This will also be the second time the Blackhawks and the Blues square off in the Winter Classic. The Blues hosted the Hawks in 2017 at Busch Stadium. St. Louis won that match up 4-1.

The Blackhawks and the Blues is an iconic NHL rivalry to feature after this year's Winter Classic did not draw huge TV ratings.

Winning this type of game is not exactly something the Blackhawks do as they are 1-5 in these special NHL outdoor events.

Winning in general is not something the Hawks and Blues are doing a lot right now. The Hawks are in the early process of a lengthy rebuild. Hopefully, another offseason paves the way for more victories next season, but the Hawks still have a long way to go toward competing for a playoff spot. The Blues are also in the middle of a reboot.

Two rebuilding teams are not exactly a marquee matchup for a top-billing event even if these two franchises are iconic. Then again, they might be what the Winter Classic needs. Well, the Hawks having Connor Bedard helps.

Featuring Bedard has to be the main reason the NHL is staging this game at Wrigley. Plus, the Blues hope to have Team USA World Junior gold medalist Jimmy Snuggerud on the roster to be another future superstar draw (subscription required).

Even if the Blues do not have a gate attraction, this is another opportunity for the league to showcase Bedard to more than just the hardcore hockey fan. Plus, the Chicago Blackhawks get ratings despite being the worst team in the NHL.

While it might not be the ideal time to feature the Blackhawks to the rest of the country, this is part of the league's plan to use Bedard to grow the game's popularity. If the NHL markets the game properly, it should be a draw much like Connor's NHL debut did.

In addition, the Hawks might have a few more exciting young players to feature like Frank Nazar III, Gavin Hayes, and Landon Slaggert. If the Blackhawks also manage to win the NHL Draft Lottery again, they will be able to showcase another generational talent in Macklin Celebrini.

The Hawks might not be competitive now, but that still does not mean the iconic franchise is not worthy of hosting a Winter Classic. That is the benefit of having a superstar like Bedard.