2008-09: Sam Brittain led the Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAA team to an AMHL championship and a second-place finish behind Notre Dame Hounds in the Telus Cup. In seven games, including a 38-save shutout in the semifinal game, Brittain finished 3-2-2 with a 3.00 GAA and .916 save percentage. He appeared in 3 games for the Canmore Eagles (AJHL), going 1-2-0 with a 3.02 GAA and .894 save percentage.
2009-10: Brittain played for the Canmore Eagles of the AJHL. In 52 games, he was 23-19-8 with a 3.27 GAA and .896 save percentage. In nine playoff games, Brittain went 5-4 with a 3.01 GAA and .913 save percentage. He committed to playing college hockey at the University of Denver.
2010-11: Brittain started 33 of 42 games as a freshman at the University of Denver. The Pioneers finished second in the WCHA and Brittain was 19-9-5 with one shutout. He had a 2.28 GAA and .921 save percentage and was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team.
2011-12: Brittain returned to the University of Denver lineup at the end of January after rehabbing from off-season knee surgery. He appeared in 12 games for the Pioneers as a sophomore, handling the bulk of the goaltending during the stretch run. He finished the year 8-4 with 1 shutout and had a 2.36 goals against and .932 save percentage. Denver finished third in the WCHA and reached the Broadmoor Trophy championship game. Brittain recorded 67 saves in the Pioneers’ 4-3, double overtime victory over Minnesota-Duluth in the WCHA playoff semifinals and was in net for the NCAA Midwest regional contest against Ferris State (a 2-1 loss).
2012-13: Brittain had a season of fits and starts in his junior year at Denver. After wins in four of his first five starts, Brittain did not record another win for almost four months as sophomore Juho Olkinuora (Winnipeg) emerged as the Pioneers’ starter. Brittain finished the year 5-7 with a 2.95 goals against and .907 save percentage. Denver finished third in the WCHA and reached the WCHA Broadmoor Trophy championship game; receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and falling to Ferris State, 2-1, in a Midwest Regional semifinal game.
2013-14: Brittain had an outstanding season for the University of Denver in his senior season — leading the Pioneers to an NCAA tournament berth with a surprising conference playoff run — and was honored as a West first team All-American and NCHC Goalie of the Year. In 39 games for the Pioneers he was 19-14-6 with five shutouts and had a 2.22 goals against and .929 save percentage. The Pioneers finished sixth in the first-year NCHC but defeated fellow upstart Miami (which finished last in the regular season) in the conference championship game; earning an NCAA berth. Denver lost to Boston College, 6-2, in the Northeast Regional semifinals. Brittain signed a two-year entry-level contract with Florida in July 2014.
2014-15: After an impressive four-year career at the University of Denver, Brittain split the season between the AHL and ECHL. In 27 games for the Cincinnati Cyclones, he struggled, posting a sub-.900 saver percentage and a 2.71 goals against average; however, in seven games with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, he posted a 4-2-1 record to go along with a .943 save percentage.
2015-16: Brittain played in 25 games for the AHL’s Portland Pirates in his second pro season. Backing up 32-year-old Mike McKenna, he was 8-10-3 and had a 2.79 goals against and .906 save percentage. Portland finished fourth in the Atlantic Division, falling to Hershey in a first-round playoff series. McKenna started all five playoff games for the Pirates.
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.
Brittain served as a backup goalie to veteran Mike McKenna with the AHL's Portland Pirates in 2015-16. In the second year of his original two-year contract with Florida, he would become an unrestricted free agent if not tendered a qualifying offer. With several goaltending candidates in the Panthers' system, he appears likely to be headed elsewhere in 2016-17. Brittain has some natural ability and shows flashes at times but the 24-year-old has seen limited action in two pro seasons.