With the 8 extremely good young forwards that we have in our system right now (Nyquist, Tatar, Jurco, Sheahan, Pulkkinen, Athanasiou, Mantha and Larkin) I don't think we have much to worry about up front. I think all of these guys are / could be legit top 6(3) NHL players, and I think it's very possible that at least 1 or 2 could become elite. Defense is definitely our area of weakness right now and in the future in my opinion. We have 4, maybe 5 young defensemen (DeKeyser, Smith, Sproul, Ouellet, Marchenko) that could become top 4 guys.
I think either way you look at it, we are set up pretty good when Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Kronwall eventually retire in the next 3-5 years (which by the way, is still a ways away yet...)
As for the great Howard vs. Mrazek debate, I still think Howard deserves a shot to prove he is the Red Wings best option in goal for the time being. After all, like many have already pointed out, he was putting up great numbers and having an All-Star year prior to his injury. In saying that, I do believe he should be on a somewhat short leash, and Mrazek stealing the job at this point should be a real option. I don't think you go with the veteran goalie into the playoffs if the rookie is playing substantially better.
I've always been a Howard supporter and still am, but I don't buy that the team just happens to show up when Mrazek (or Gustavsson) is in net, and play like s*** when Howard is in net. I think the teams play is a result of the goalies play. It's much easier to get going on the offense when your goalie is making the huge key saves in a game. If the goalie lets in a softie or two, it usually does effect the teams overall play. Howard is very capable in making big time saves from time to time but he is also known to let in a few weak goals at inopportune times. Another obvious contributing factor in the team playing better when Mrazek is in net, is his ability to play the puck. As cliché as it sounds, it really is like having a third defenseman back there.
Howard has been awful 1on1 recently and has never learned how to play the puck. Mrazek is pretty good 1on1 due to his aggressive style, and can play the puck as well as any goaltender in the league. The kid oozes confidence and if he's able to string together another few great performances down the stretch and Howard struggles, I think he should be our guy for the playoffs. However, I do still believe it is Howie's job to lose...