I think you can attribute Edler's phenomenal play as another reason for the turnaround as well. When BXA and Salo went down I thought we were in serious shit. Krajicek had been alright in fill in roles the year before, but after more than 5 or 6 games I felt he got a bit exhausted and out of position. Miller had been BRUTAL playing anything more than #6 minutes and looked to be another Chouinard. We called up two players younger than 21 to fill out our heavily thinned defence and I felt our season was over.
Then out of the blue, a 21 year old kid who had looked alright in previous callups but far from NHL ready, starts playing like a 10 year NHL veteran. It's not unreasonable to suggest he's a calder candidate at this point. Considering noone outside of Vancouver (and Detroit who scouted him as well) had even heard of him prior to this year that's bloody impressive.
Defencemen are supposed to take longer to develop than forwards, and yet against all logic we have a 21 year old 100% NHL ready. Look at all the other top tier defensive prospects in the league. Marc Staal, Eric Johnson, Jack Johnson; none of them are playing as much or as well as Edler, yet some of them are being mentioned in the same breath as current superstars and NHL greats. That speaks volumes to me.
Without Edler we wouldn't be a playoff spot, let alone battling for first in the division again.
We have a real beauty on our hands.