The Washington Times - January 13, 2013, 05:37PM

Eric Fehr knew in retrospect that his right shoulder wasn’t healthy when he suited up for the Winnipeg Jets last season.

“Last year I came back before I should have, and after that it was just spiraling out of control,” Fehr said.

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Two goals and an assist in 35 games later, Fehr didn’t even get a qualifying offer from his hometown team. But after rediscovering his scoring touch in Finland and proving he could stay healthy after a career full of shoulder problems, he’s back with the Washington Capitals on a one-year, $600,000 contract.

“We talked about maybe adding a little more depth at forward. And we know this player, he’s still a young player,” general manager George McPhee said. “Looks like he’s gotten over the surgeries and the rehab and he also was playing really well in Finland. And so we thought it’d be a nice addition.”

Fehr spent parts of his first six NHL seasons in Washington, but several shoulder injuries and surgeries prevented the 2003 first-round pick from ever realizing his full potential. He went to Finland during the lockout, playing for HPK Hameenlinna in SM-Liiga and putting up 13 goals and 12 assists in 21 games.

“I definitely had to play hockey during the lockout. That was something that I really wanted to do,” Fehr said. “I had a tough year last year and I wanted to get back playing, put it behind me. I’m real happy that I went to Finland. I was able to start playing, to start scoring again and get the confidence back up.”

On the first day of Caps training camp Sunday, Fehr skated on the fourth line with Matt Hendricks, Mathieu Perreault and Joey Crabb. The 27-year-old could get moved up the lineup if he shows he can fill the net again.

“I expect to be back to where I was a couple of years ago, contributing offensively again,” Fehr said. “I’m playing with a lot more confidence right now so hopefully that carries into the season.”