MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Tom De Koning of the Blues and Sam Draper of the Bombers compete for the ball during the round 13 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Carlton Blues at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Carlton have confirmed they have opened discussions with ruck-forward Tom De Koning ahead of the final year of his contract.

De Koning's deal, which was penned at the end of 2020, will expire at the end of next season - his sixth in the navy blue.

After locking away star forwards Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow to long-term deals in recent months, De Koning is now placed as Carlton's priority retention signing for the future.

Like the aforementioned Coleman Medal-winning duo, the Blues have looked to get contract talks underway before De Koning enters 2023, however the Blues are left with little salary cap room after also seeing the likes of Sam Walsh, Zac Fisher and Matt Kennedy re-sign this year.

"Our team have been talking to the De Koning family for the last month or two," Blues CEO Brian Cook told 7 News. 

When asked about how much salary space the club has entering 2023, Cook said: "Yeah not a lot."

2023 frames as a potential breakout campaign for De Koning, who is likely to lead Carlton's ruck stocks as the club eyes a return to finals contention.

De Koning played 19 games for the Blues this year under Michael Voss, averaging 10.89 disposals, 17.16 hit-outs and booted four goals for the campaign.

The 23-year-old is joined by Sam Docherty, Paddy Dow, Nic Newman, Caleb Marchbank, Mark Pittonet, Jack Silvagni and Lachie Plowman in also being off-contract in 2023.