Regarding the 2000P, I'm wary of the new printer considering how Epson failed me so badly with the 1270 I own. The 1270's cyan inks are subject to rapid cyan fading, leaving their marketing claims of 20 year print life in the dustbin. The prints I've seen from the 2000P are slightly less impressive than the 1270 prints, but they also have a characteristic that is a problem for some owners. The 2000P inkset shows metamerism - a color shift that's dependent on the light you view the image by - and the prints show a greenish cast under daylight viewing. One thing to note: both the 1270 and 2000P have Epson's proprietary IC-equipped cartridges. This scheme has kept aftermarket ink makers from offering an alternative to the Epson inks. It also means you can't take advantage of the extended monochrome cartridges that offer the best monochrome printing performance. Black and white images printed on the 2000P are supposed to have an objectionabl color cast.
Since the Mac relies on ICC profiles for color matching, you will still need accurate profiles for any printer/ink/print media combination you choose. This gets a lot more involved if you're printing on acid-free aftermarket papers and is even more involved if you go with aftermarket inks for your inkjet printer. With the 2000P, Epson's profiles seem to be optimized for creating prints that are displayed under tungsten light. As long as you stay under Epson's proprietary umbrella, you'll get consistent, if perhaps not ideal, color results. There are some products in development that work around Epson's chipped cartridge scheme. I suspect that as you try more advanced printing and tonal control, you'll want to look at products from Lysonic and others.
Since I never got into zone processing and only have a familiarity with the theory, I think you should be able to reasonably simulate N plus or minus processing using Photoshop. The big variable for you to control is the scanning. If your negs have a full tonal range, the dyamic range of your scans will be critical to keeping shadow detail or not blowing out highlights. Choosing a colorspace for your images opens up complexity that you'll need to learn. Photoshop color management can be a difficult system to grasp (it was for me), but I recommend that you study it closely. There are aftermarket Photoshop books that are easier to follow and absorb. RGB will likely be the easiest to work with, and your printer will end up processing the data as RGB anyway. Since you're interested in optimizing your system for grey level images and printing, you'll need to choose an RGB space for Photoshop that has a gamut that's a good match for your objectives. Since I do design work for offset printing, I primarily use the PhotoshopRGB colorspace. I'm not sure what would be best for you, but the more common sRGB has too wide a gamut for this kind of work.
I'm not familiar with the subset of features that Photoshop LE offers, but I suspect you'll be better off with the full version. The levels controls will be the easiest to learn and use. Curves give you the most control, but they're much more difficult to learn. Brightness/contrast controls can be convenient, but they're not the kind of control you'll typically want. You may be able to find some ICC profiles in cyberspace that someone has built to simulate zone processing. You could then do a profile-to-profile (in Photoshop shorthand "P2P") conversion of your scan file. If such curves don't exist, you might find yourself pioneering at bit down the road...
I've been working with images for graphic design work for years, but I'm only starting out in digital darkroom work. My experience with the 1270 has put damper on my work and I'm still sizing up the options for getting a true archival print capability. I'm leaning on buying a 1200, which doesn't have the chipped cartridges and exploring Lysonic inks. The 2000P is expensive and it's Epson's first printer offering dye based inks. I'm inclined to wait and see if Epson missed anything... they certainly did on the 870/1270 printers.