Making my 2011-12 awards picks

Updated: April 10, 2012, 12:21 PM ET
By Craig Custance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's the final look back at the regular season before diving into the playoffs. Every season, the Professional Hockey Writers Association is asked to vote on the biggest awards the league hands out each season, and it's a responsibility we take seriously. I know I wasn't alone in asking GMs, players, scouts, coaches and those closest to the players what they thought about the viability of an award candidate. Sometimes that helps. With the Norris Trophy, it only clouded the picture.

So in the interests of full disclosure, here's my ballot as it was turned into the NHL and its accounting firm today.

Hart Trophy

To the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.

1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins: This one to me was a no-brainer. The Penguins have surged into the playoffs as the favorites to win a Stanley Cup, and Malkin is the biggest reason they've put themselves in that position. He finished the season with a league-best 109 points, the only player in the league to break the 100-point barrier. He also scored 50 goals.