Is the NHL making a mistake with the Hawks opening road trip?

Connor Bedard will start his NHL career by playing in five road games before he makes his United Center debut. Is this a mistake by the league?
Chicago Blackhawks Welcome Event for the 2023 NHL Draft Class
Chicago Blackhawks Welcome Event for the 2023 NHL Draft Class / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

We are less than 50 days from seeing Connor Bedard make his Blackhawks and NHL debut. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait a little bit longer to see him in person at the United Center.

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, Bedard will suit up for the Blackhawks for the first time when the team heads to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins at 7 p.m. CT in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

From there, the Blackhawks and Bedard will have four more road games before he is able to play at the United Center for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 21. Is the NHL making a mistake by having Bedard go through a lengthy road trip to begin his NHL career?

As selfish as it may be to quickly answer "yes" as a Blackhawks fan, the NHL is giving themselves the opportunity to draw a ton of eyes on some of those games, especially when you look at who the Blackhawks will face on the road trip.

Being game two of a triple header on opening night, it's obvious that there will be a ton of viewership when Bedard takes on his idol Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.

Two of Canada's own who both had a ton of hype entering the league should make for a thrilling first game and a ton of storylines heading into the action. It's no surprise that the NHL is making that game available for everyone to see.

Just one night later, the Hawks will travel to Boston to take on the Bruins in yet another nationally televised game. This time, the game will be at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcasted on TNT.

Two big markets in Boston and Chicago getting a nationally televised game early in Bedard's career should put forth very good viewership numbers for the league.

Also, on a local level, the Bruins saw their most houshold impressions since the 2014-15 season. A record-breaking season definitely helped those ratings, but the Bruins have done well regardless of whether or not they are breaking records.

Following two days off after the Bruins game, Bedard will get to make his professional debut in Canada when the Hawks take on the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, Oct. 14 and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, Oct. 16.

Even though these games aren't nationally televised and both Montreal and Toronto are a long ways away from North Vancouver where Bedard is from, you have to imagine that not only will a lot of people be tuning into these games from their local markets, but also the Bell Centre and the Scotiabank Arena will be packed when Bedard comes to town.

Presenting a similar storyline like the one for the Bedard-Crosby matchup, having Bedard take the ice against Auston Matthews in Canada for the first time in their professional careers will do good things for the NHL.

Lastly, the Blackhawks will conclude their road trip with a game in Denver against the Avalanche on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 9:30 p.m. CT. That gives Connor Bedard a date with three teams who were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year and one who just missed in the first five games of his NHL career.

There will most likely be some "welcome to the NHL" moments for Bedard early on, but seeing him take on these teams and having a few nationally televised games before his home debut will keep people around the league happy.

Of course, the competition won't get any easier with the Blackhawks set to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. CT for the United Center debut of Connor Bedard.