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Capitals prospect Garrett Haar just beginning to tap into his potential

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It is safe to say that Washington Capitals prospect Garrett Haar was indecisive last summer.

The defenseman originally was ticketed for Northeastern University, before de-committing to go back to the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League. But after some persuasion from Capitals general manger George McPhee to attend college, Haar chose to play at Western Michigan.

With a freshman season under his belt, the Caps' 2011 seventh-round pick is back in development camp now as a legitimate prospect.

"It's giving me a lot of experience." Haar said, "Getting to play against lots of different players across the United States, so it will be a good test for me to see how I've developed."

In August, the 18-year-old will attend the U.S. World Junior Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., alongside other top prospects from across the country. It's further validation of his improvement from almost going undrafted to getting the chance to earn a spot on Team U.S.A.

"I'm really looking forward to it, but right now I don't really want to talk about it," Haar said. "I'm kind of just focusing on Capitals camp right now, so I'll take it one camp at a time and when this camp is over, I'll focus on that."

The Huntington Beach, Calif., native missed Tuesday's scrimmage with a tweaked hip flexor, which shouldn't be a problem moving forward.

"I think [Monday] in the game I tweaked it a little bit," Haar said. "Then we had our testing this morning on the ice and it just didn't feel right, so they told me to get off and they just are giving me a break."

Haar, who had eight points as a freshman, will continue his tutelage in his sophomore year under ex-Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray.

"We have great leadership and I just really like the way coach Murray has dealt with things, so it was a great experience my freshman year and I'm excited to go back," Haar said.

Just like last summer, Haar will have to weigh multiple options for how to continue his playing career. When asked of his long-term future at Western Michigan, he was hesitant.

"I'm just taking it year-by-year," Haar said.

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