The Wild set a team record for wins and finished with the fifth-most points in the NHL. The Timberwolves doubled their win total from the previous season.
Both teams delivered entertaining, successful, even historic regular seasons.
Both teams won two playoff games.
Winning only two games in the first round of a seven-game series lands nowhere near achieving something significant.
What became painfully obvious in watching their respective playoff flameouts is that neither team knows how to win under playoff intensity and pressure. Their flaws and inexperience were exposed as both playoff series dangled right there for the taking.
As the coaches and front offices dissect their seasons in totality, the overarching question for both organizations is now this: How do they take the next step?
In many ways, that step will be more difficult than the one they just took. They passed bad teams on the climb up. Now they must catch and pass teams that are still ahead of them. Teams that are still playing.
These playoff experiences will benefit both teams. Experience matters in the postseason — learning what it takes to win, how to handle situations, how not to play, the value of coaching adjustments, all of it.
Both teams have a lot of growing up to do in these areas.
The Wolves gagged away three double-digit fourth-quarter leads against Memphis. Their immaturity and lack of composure caused them to unravel. They didn't play smart basketball when the situation required poise. Coach Chris Finch noted that poor shot selection in crunch time is "baked in their DNA."
The Wild blew their best chance in Game 4 with the Blues severely depleted in defensemen. That was the moment to take advantage of a vulnerable opponent. Instead, the Wild gave them new life and lost three consecutive games, including an outright dud in the elimination game.
The coaches showed their inexperience too. Finch and the Wild's Dean Evason share an admirable coaching attribute in that they give players plenty of latitude to figure things out on their own. They don't overcoach their teams. That approach has served them well, but they needed to be more assertive in adjustments and decisions in the playoffs. The degree to which their teams flopped in certain areas reflects poorly on the coaching staffs.
Experience alone isn't a panacea. The Wolves and Wild can't just assume that getting back to the playoffs will automatically make them wiser and better suited to perform under pressure. Structural change is necessary.
The Wolves did not trust their $30 million point guard to be on the floor in the fourth quarter of an elimination game. The Wild switched goalies leading into its elimination game.
Those are big-ticket problems to address this offseason.
Start with the Wolves. D'Angelo Russell's roller-coaster act is not worth the financial cost. His disappearance in the playoff series cemented the argument for trading him, if possible, and starting anew at point guard. The Wolves also desperately need to add more size, rebounding and defensive versatility.
The Wild faces a busier offseason. The goalie situation is messy. Cam Talbot is upset after the team showed more faith in unrestricted free agent Marc-Andre Fleury in the playoffs, even though Talbot outplayed him down the stretch of the regular season.
The Wild's special teams were a season-long liability that sabotaged the playoffs. The blue line fell apart against the Blues, gift-wrapping scoring chances by playing soft in their zone. And too many players disappeared, mostly notably Kevin Fiala, who squandered some of his negotiating leverage with his no-show.
General Manager Bill Guerin faces an unenviable, and perhaps impossible, task of trying to improve the roster while being hamstrung by $12.7 million in dead cap space as a penalty for buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. A roster shakeup might be inevitable.
The Wild looked like a team constructed to make a deep run. The playoffs proved otherwise. They weren't ready at all.
The Wolves didn't play like overmatched newbies throughout much of their series against the Grizzlies … until the fourth quarters. They weren't ready for their moment either.
And now comes the hard part.