One season after finishing last in the Western Conference, the Avalanche clinched the Central Division title on Sunday when the St. Louis Blues lost 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings. It is the first division title for Colorado since 2002-03.
By winning the Central and finishing second in the conference, the Avalanche will play the top wild card in the West, the Minnesota Wild, instead of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, in the first round of the playoffs.
This is the franchise's first trip to the postseason since 2009-10. The Avalanche have not won a playoff series since 2008.
What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.
— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp