The Nashville Predators are continuing negotiations with soon-to-be restricted free-agent defenceman Shea Weber, but the NHL team filed for salary arbitration today.
Sources say the Predators did so in order to protect themselves from another NHL team making an offer sheet on Weber. Offer sheets are prohibited on RFAs who are being taken to arbitration.
It is now up to Weber's agent, Jarrett Bousquet, to elect whether the arbitration is a one-year or two-year term. That decision, though, is not required until 48 hours prior to the arbitration hearing, which can't happen until after July 20.
In the meantime, Bousquet and the Predators will continue to work towards a long term contract that can be arrived at any time before the arbitration.
They've been negotiating for the last two days.
Weber is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in two years. He's one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman, which will be presented Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils have elected to take impending RFA forward Zach Parise to salary arbitration for the same reasons as Nashville with Weber - to protect themselves from an offer sheet.
Parise can only receive a one-year arbitration award because he's an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.