A month ago, the Wild was mired in about the worst place in the standings — barely on the fringes of the playoff race, but more likely to both miss the postseason and not get a high draft pick than any other outcome.

In February, the franchise fired the head coach, Bruce Boudreau, the man the Wild hoped would lead it to playoff success when hired four years. The Wild was in the midst of exploring a trade involving Zach Parise — one of two cornerstones signed another four years before Boudreau's arrival in hopes of bringing a Stanley Cup to Minnesota.

There was very little about the Wild that was interesting. Mostly Minnesota just seemed stuck, with very few prospects for getting out of its rut.

And then three things happened — offering another reminder of just how quickly a narrative can change in sports and that while there's no changing the past there is a certain measure of influence over the present and future.

1 — Kevin Fiala started playing like a superstar. Now, I want to be careful here not to say Fiala is a star. We need to see more than a five-week burst before that word enters the conversation on a permanent basis. But he is playing like one right now: 14 goals and 12 assists in his last 18 games starting Feb. 4, during which time the Wild is 12-5-1.

Just as important is that from an aesthetic standpoint, Fiala plays with the type of fluidity, creativity and skill that make games fun to watch. I'll admit to being far more interested in tuning in to watch over the last month, and Fiala is a big part of that. When was the last time the Wild had a player that made you say, "I should watch this game because I want to see what Player X does?"

2 — Parise looks like he's playing with a new energy since the trade deadline, when reports indicated a deal involving the Islanders was close to happening before falling through. In eight games since then, Parise has four goals and five assists — with the Wild going 6-2 in those games.

Always a dogged worker, Parise's effort level jumps out even more lately — as does his joy when he puts a puck in the net. Whether it's relief that a trade didn't happen or a sense that as long as he's here he should make the most of it, the energy is working for Parise and it's helping the Wild.

And that's on top of what was already a solid year for him. Let's not forget that in the midst of Fiala-mania, Parise is still the team leader with 25 goals (to Fiala's 23) and has played all 69 games this season.

3 — Kirill Kaprizov continues to provide even more hope for the future. The Wild prospect is dominating the KHL again for CSKA Moscow, and ESPN just named him the No. 1 NHL-affiliated prospect among all teams. That same report listed 2019 first-round pick Matthew Boldy as the No. 13 prospect. Both rankings were a jump seven spots up from the last time players were ranked.

If Kaprizov arrives next season as expected and Fiala continues to rise, that would give the Wild two potentially dynamic players on a roster that has sorely lacked high-end skill. Those are the types of players who not only provide a buzz but make a difference in the postseason.

It's not hard to imagine the Wild being competitive for at least one round this year if it can get in. And it's much easier to picture bigger future success than it was just a month ago.