Given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season. (NHL.com)
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Winner: Corey Perry
If the Hart is awarded on its true basis (the player deemed most valuable to his team), then it's hard to imagine either Daniel Sedin or Martin St. Louis besting Corey Perry.
In a weak (i.e. no clear choice) field, it's possible that the votes split a certain way and Perry comes up short in the balloting, but in the truest sense of the award, the Hart belongs to him and to him alone.
Daniel Sedin and St. Louis will be punished for their terrific supporting casts, and while Perry skates alongside Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf (on what should be the best line in hockey), both of those players had disappointing and, in the case of Getzlaf, injury-plagued seasons.
Daniel played with Henrik (90-plus points), Kesler (41 goals as a second-line center) and Luongo (Vezina finalist), while St. Louis played on a line with Steven Stamkos (remember when he was on pace for 2,000 goals?).
Corey Perry ended the season by hauling an otherwise non-playoff team led by Ray Emery (!) into the playoffs on a remarkable late-season offensive surge.
If Perry isn't on that team, they completely bottom out, and the same just can't be said for Daniel Sedin or Martin St. Louis, whose absences would have seriously wounded their teams, but (arguably) not fatally.
There are strong cases to be made for all three (without Daniel, the Canucks don't win the Presidents' Trophy and have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals; without St. Louis, the Lightning don't generate enough offense to counter-balance their early-season struggles in net) but on a "matter of life or death" basis, Corey Perry takes it.