NOVEMBER 29, 2017 | 10:59am ET



John Carlson, defenceman


As the Washington Capitals get back on track, having won four of their last five games, focus later on in the season will steer its head towards the contractual status of stud defenseman John Carlson.

Carlson, 27, is in the final year of his contract and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

In his latest "31 Thoughts" column on, Elliotte Friedman reported there haven't been any contract discussions between the Capitals and Carlson's camp, to date. While this may not be a concern, right now, Friedman noted if talks don't begin soon, "that's going to be a big second-half storyline."

The native of Natick, Massachusetts, has picked up two goals and 16 assists for 18 points in 25 games with the Capitals, so far this season, which puts him on pace for a career-high 59 points. It would be the second time of his career he was to hit the 50+ point mark, if he keeps up this offensive production -- he recorded 55 points during the 2014-15 season.

Carlson is making $4 million in salary this season, though his annual salary cap hit is just under that mark. He is due for a significant raise on his next deal and could see his annual salary hover around the $6 million mark.