What metric do you use to determine if your team's season is a success?
I admit, I've struggled with this. In my gut, I see this season as a success, but how to put it out there as an unassailable point?
Well, I can't. All I can do is make the case as best I can, and here it is:
This season's Wild team earned the second highest number of points that any Wild team has earned (98) and won the third most games ever (43). Sure, scoring went down, but here's what I think is an important metric: For the first time since Jacques Lemaire coached the team, the Wild scored more goals than their opposition.
Only four times have the Wild allowed fewer goals. (I'm not counting 2013, because that would have been 217 goals against over a full schedule.)
But, statistics shmatistics. Metrics shmetrics.
This Wild team has grown this year, and that's what I've been feeling in my gut. When the Wild were in a swoon and Mike Yeo could hear Craig Leipold sharpening the axe, Yeo basically called in his team and said "Fuck it." He didn't want them to win for him. Instead, he let it all hang out and he let his team figure it out while he pulled the strings in the background. And that's what a great magician does, he distracts you while quietly pulling a hamster out of his ass.
And it's not just Mike Yeo that's been successful this year. Yeah, he did a great job with what he had, but it wasn't just Yeo that grew this year, it was the players and "the team" that grew.
And I'll grant you that the Wild should have competed with Chicago and St Louis for domination of the Central Division. Sure, the Wild should have done better than another wild card berth.
But that's why the play the games, right? And maybe if the Wild had steamrolled the division without having the setbacks of December, the team wouldn't have had the necessary growth and gotten bounced in the first round again. (Not to say it won't happen tonight, but I'll take a 7 game loss in a great, tight series over a 5 games and out over a team that vastly overpowers the Wild.)
So, yeah, I'd call this season a success.