Matt Niskanen knows the numbers.
More important he understands what they might mean for his future with the Penguins.

He's aware that the Penguins who will open training camp next Wednesday are roughly $1.1 million over the NHL's salary-cap ceiling of $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season.

He also realizes that their projected 23-man roster -- and it's far from certain they'll carry that many -- includes seven defensemen who would have to clear waivers and an eighth Simon Despres who is waiver-exempt but who seems virtually certain to secure steady work in the NHL this winter.

It's no surprise then that Niskanen has been a fixture in trade speculation since the Penguins signed free-agent defenseman Rob Scuderi two months ago.

"I know the situation we're in being over the cap" Niskanen said after an informal workout Monday at the Ice Castle in Castle Shannon. "It's pretty evident that Ray [Shero the general manager] has to make a decision. Someone who probably otherwise is a regular on our roster [will be traded]."

Adding Scuderi bolstered what already was the Penguins' strongest and deepest position. With promising young defensemen such as Derrick Pouliot Olli Maatta Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin among others in the pipeline the Penguins figure to be set on their blue line for years to come.

Nothing is guaranteed of course but that is why with about a month before the Penguins must become cap-compliant it seems likely and logical that they will do so by trading a veteran defenseman.