John Carlson is far from the best-known defenseman who will be in attendance at the U.S. Olympic orientation camp this week at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. He’s not the most experienced or decorated NHL player and has yet to compete at the highest level of international play.

Carlson is part of a group of up-and-coming young players USA Hockey wanted to include in the preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. But he believes he can demonstrate why he’s ready to be a part of the Olympic equation now.

“I have confidence in myself. I always have” said Carlson the only member of the Washington Capitals who will take part in the U.S. camp Monday and Tuesday. “I’ve got to answer those questions about where I fit for myself and I do think I’m good enough to make the team but it’s not up to me. I have a lot of work to do first. I need to have a good season and also I’ve got to have a good season for the Caps.”

Over the past three NHL seasons Carlson 23 established himself as an integral part of the Capitals’ defense. Whether playing under Bruce Boudreau Dale Hunter or Adam Oates he has taken on responsibilities in all situations with significant minutes and high expectations on a nightly basis.

His career hasn’t been without growing pains. Most recently Carlson had a rough start to the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season — he was on the ice for half of the first 82 goals Washington allowed — but his play improved as the year progressed.

The New Jersey native also played hero the last time he suited up for the United States. He scored in overtime of the gold-medal game to give the Americans a 6-5 win over Canada in the 2010 world junior championships.

Carlson knows he is in control of how strong of a candidate he will be. If he excels in the first three months of the upcoming NHL season he could make a strong case for himself as an Olympian.