Florida Panthers Top 25 Under 25: #21 Sam Brittain

Brittain made a brief but impactful appearance in the AHL last season, showing considerable potential for a first year professional.

Sam Brittain

Position: Goalie

Birthdate: 5/10/1992 (23)

Acquired: 4th Round Selection (92nd Overall) 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2014-15 Team/League: San Antonio Rampage (AHL); Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL); Florida Panthers (NHL)

AHL Stats:

7 1.76 .943 4

ECHL Stats:

27 2.71 .895 14

Nationality: Canadian

Size: 6'3", 215 lbs.

Contract: Final year of ELC, $755,000

Sam Brittain has had some bad luck. As a freshman at the University of Denver, he made the All-Conference team after putting up stellar numbers as a first year NCAA keeper. Injures curtailed his sophomore season, but he came back and had a strong finish to that season. His junior year was one he'd like to forget, but he returned for an outstanding senior season when he was a finalist for the Mike Richter Award as the nation's top collegiate goaltender.

In his first professional season he shared the net with the more veteran Rob Madore for the Cincinnati Cyclones, but when the Panthers goaltending injury fiasco of 2015 hit, he was called up to train with the Cats for a spell, and then became the San Antonio Rampage starter, where he posted outstanding numbers during a late run. More than a few people wondered if the Rampage should not have continued to ride Brittain's hot hand instead of returning to Dan Ellis, in what became a first round defeat to Oklahoma City.

Hockey's Future had this to say about Brittain and his potential:

Brittain is the prototypical modern NHL goaltender with good size and a traditional butterfly style. He covers the net well and is adept at controlling rebounds. He is comfortable and calm in his crease and relies on sound positioning and fluid movements instead of the twisting, acrobatic saves. Brittain has a quick, technically solid glove hand, and moves smoothly from post to post. Injuries and inconsistent play have hampered his development, but the core attributes are all in place.

Inconsistency has marred Brittain's game for some time. He has bounced between exceptional and very average from season to season. But his potential does hold the possibility of great promise. Whether that be from his fantastic final season at Denver, or in his 7-game stint in San Antonio, Brittain has shown he could be a very good goalie. Panthers' staff and players raved about him during his short stint as Ellis' backup when the Cats lost Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya to injury.

In the final season of his ELC and slotted for full time duty in the AHL in Portland this year, this will be a make or break season for this young goaltender. If he plays like he did in San Antonio last season for a large portion of this year, Brittain may have a quick shot at becoming Luongo's backup. Stumble as he did at times in the ECHL, or in his junior year at Denver, and he is likely to find himself on a short leash.

Where we voted for Brittain:

Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
22 22 18 24 NR

Who we voted 21st:

Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
Samuel Montembeault Logan Shaw Denis Malgin Lawson Crouse Quinton Howden