Their first line will match up well against any of their division rivals and, frankly, any other team in the eastern conference.
I'll disagree there, I think the Penguins and the Flyers both have better top lines. The Flyers' top top 6 is far deeper, and the top 9 are also far deeper. If you have 66-point Richards and 66-point Nash as your top line, its not even top-3 in the East. Hell, if Toronto's top line repeats last year's performance they'll score more than the Rangers' top line.
As for the Penguins, I'd much sooner count on Crosby staying healthy than Gaborik.
Washington and Ovechkin are huge wild cards as well.
BUT, I will agree that if the Rangers get 70-assist Richards and 45-goal Nash, its a whole different ball game. I just don't see anything from their stats trajectories to believe this will be the case, but I wouldn't bet the farm on this.
The big question is who makes up the 2nd line? Ryan Callahan and Chris Kreider (promising but still unproven IMO) are on the wings, but unless they have faith that Derek Stepan can become a quality 2nd line centre this season the rest of the team looks a little vacant.
I think it is extremely foolish to expect so much from second-year players. The sophomore slump is
real, and any GM who has thought it would apply to his star rookie has suffered for it.