Before we look at the teams that will pose the greatest challenges, lets's look at the teams that figure to not be as much of a problem for the Penguins and why.
New York Rangers
While Henrik Lundqvist is always a challenge for any team, the Rangers were a marginal playoff team last season and took a step backwards in the offseason. With the uncertainty around annual-underperformer Brad Richards and with the coaching change, the Rangers don't figure to be any better this season.
Unfortunately for the Capitals, they won't be able to rely on being the best team in a bad Southeast Division as in year's past. Having lost Mike Ribiero, Wojtek Wolski and Matt Hendricks in free agency, the Capitals will struggle to make the playoffs this season.
New Jersey Devils:
Without a doubt, the shocking retirement of Ilya Kovalchuk from the NHL in order to return to the KHL has left a giant void in the New Jersey Devils' lineup. Although trading for Cory Schneider to solidify their goaltending situation, Jaromir Jagr, Ryan Clowe and Michael Ryder are not going to be enough for the Devils to offset the loss of Kovalchuk.
Columbus Blue Jackets:
While the NHL clearly intended to create a Columbus versus Pittsburgh rivalry, it may take a few seasons before the Blue Jackets are ready to challenge the Pens for divisional supremacy. While the acquisition of Nathan Horton was a step in the right direction, the offensively-challenged Blue Jackets will struggle to score enough to keep pace with the rest of the division.
Now that we've looked at who won't be the biggest challenge to the Pens, let's look at the three teams that will be.