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Jonathan Drouin on the incline with MacKinnon in Colorado

A confident Jonathan Drouin looks better than ever with the Avalanche.

New York Islanders v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It was a slow start for Jonathan Drouin this season. Still, the 28-year-old from Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Canada, has grown comfortable and accustomed to contributing to significant victories for the Colorado Avalanche. With 44 games left in the season, Drouin is on pace to log 40+ points for just $800K, no less. He has ten points in his last ten games but, most importantly, is playing with confidence and conviction alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

Has the expectation changed for Jonathan Drouin?

I don't feel the expectation has changed, as any success from Drouin is a cherry on top of this roster at that $800K price point. I think most people thought that by now, the Avalanche would have sent Drouin back to the AHL after a failed experiment. He and his linemate Nathan MacKinnon have had other plans. I think the more hopeful fans had a reasonable outlook and will consider a 40+ point contribution a success.

I don't think having a heightened expectation now that we've seen Drouin at his most recent best is unreasonable. I think Jacob put it best here on yesterday's live broadcast of the Mile High Hockey Lab. Something like 60 points isn't out of the realm of possibility for Drouin as long as he's playing alongside Nathan MacKinnon, who is currently on a torrid pace and catapulting himself into the Hart Trophy conversation.

If Joe Sakic and Chris MacFarland find a 60-point producer at 50K more than the league minimum, it will be yet another feather in their cap. That cap is made mainly of feathers at this point.

Success is fleeting. Sports can be fickle. I'm not worried.

I may have gotten a bit ahead of myself in the preseason by being so intrigued by the addition of Jonathan Drouin, but this is the story I envisioned. He's found a home in Colorado alongside his Moosehead teammate and Nate's band of brothers. If he can keep this success rolling into a deep playoff run, he and MacKinnon will be stealing headlines left and right. We saw Jared Bednar win a championship at every level. Why can't Jo and Mack do the same together? Here's to hoping.

I can't help but remind myself that things change rapidly in professional sports. Drouin could just as quickly hit a skid and lose his newfound confidence, but I'm not concerned about that. To me, this is the perfect situation for Drouin. He is away from an obsessive, commonly toxic environment that comes with a massive market and has plenty of reasons to buy into Bednar's system.

What do you think of Jonathan Drouin's progress? Have your expectations changed? How many points do you predict he will finish with? Let us know in the comments!

Don't forget to check out the rest of this week's edition of the Mile High Hockey Lab!