The Wild locked in their minimum 53rd percentile performance for this season last night. Yep. That's all we learned: they can't finish worse than in the 53rd percentile of the league. Okay we have also learned that they can play with the very best in the league. That they can come back on the very best in the league, even. And that is really my point here.
We should not, as fans, be satisfied that they made the playoffs. That should be the perennial minimum expectation. To be fair, I have not read anyone saying they are satisfied with just making the playoffs. But I have said from the start of this season that my expectation was that they would take the next step, and to me that would be demonstrated by winning a round this playoffs. I have also said that I was prepared to have that expectation not be met, and I would not automatically fall into a "they suck, blow it up" mind frame if that came to pass. But my expectations have been about progress. They took the step of getting back into the playoffs last season and did not deliver a significantly diminished roster coming into this season. I felt, and still feel, like taking that next step should be the expectation - whether it takes one or more seasons to do so.
I am happy that they have put themselves in a position to meet my expectations for this season. I am very impressed with how they turned it around the past couple of weeks. That tells me that my expectations are reasonable.