Thrashers activate Shields, send him to AHL

Updated: January 4, 2006, 8:17 PM ET

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- The Atlanta Thrashers are on the verge of having a surplus of goaltenders.

The Thrashers, who watched three netminders fall to injury early in the season, activated Steve Shields from injured reserve on Wednesday.

Shields, who was signed as a free agent on October 27 after Kari Lehtonen and Mike Dunham went down with groin injuries, hurt his knee in Atlanta's 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on November 24 and has missed the Thrashers' last 20 games, including Wednesday's contest against Carolina. He was assigned to Chicago of the American Hockey League for conditioning purposes.

In five games with Atlanta, the 33-year-old Shields has gone 1-2-1 with a 4.29 goals-against average and .853 save percentage. He has a career record of 80-104-1 with 39 ties, 10 shutouts and a 2.67 GAA in 246 games with Buffalo, San Jose, Anaheim, Boston, Florida and Atlanta.

Lehtonen was activated from IR on December 26 after being injured in the season opener on October 5, while Dunham remains sidelined. Rookie Michael Garnett has seen the bulk of the action in the goaltenders' absences.