I agree with the gist of your analysis, JC. As I've pointed out elsewhere, the team subtracted two top-6 forwards and replaced them with nobody...unless you consider Bourque a top-6 forward, which to my mind is a bit like considering Kaberle a top-4 defenceman. On paper, this team is significantly worse than the one that started last season up front.
Now Markov coming back strong would make a huge difference. His absence was THE reason we failed so miserably last year. But I don't think it's sensible to count on Markov being Markov at this point. You're now talking about an aging defenceman prone to catastrophic injuries who has barely played competitive hockey for three years. So rational analysis can't infer too much from his return. (I agree that Kaberle is no Markov, but I still think - in sheer hockey terms - we're better with Kabs than without him; so I wouldn't be in a hurry to dump his contract until after this 'season' is over).
Cole is a year older, and while Patches and PK - and even DD - could very well find new levels, the path of player development seldom runs so smooth. They are terrific young guns but it would be unwise to assume that they will do more than last season.
Galy is not likely to be saviour, not for this season. You can never assume that a rookie will come in and make a big impact.
So, our main hope lies in a team that catches lightning in a bottle, courtesy of a new coach ('a change is as good as a rest') and the team's burning hunger to redeem itself after a disastrous season last year. We could then become more than the sum of our parts and scrape into the playoffs on sheer joyous momentum. I think that we have a better chance of being 'that team' this season than most clubs do...but that's still just a hope at this point.