General manager David Poile said that the goal of the Predators is to sign the team captain to a long-term contract, but a deal hasn't been struck yet for multiple reasons.
Weber was set to become a restricted free agent come July 1, but the filing likely keeps him in Nashville as the two sides will have extended time to negotiate a new deal before other teams can give Weber offer sheets. The arbitrations is merely the team protecting itself if the current negotiations drag on too long and stops others from trying to swoop in.
While the unrestricted free-agent market isn't a strong one, there were some enticing names on the restricted list, Weber certainly included. Yesterday, the Devils made the same move as the Predators, filing for arbitration with one of their young Stars, Zach Parise. The biggest name of all of them is Steven Stamkos, who still has nothing set in stone with Tampa Bay.
Keeping Weber in town was at the top of the priority list for Nashville this offseason. Nominated for the Norris Trophy this season as the league's top defenseman, Weber has been a key part of the team's recent playoff visits. Known for having a rifle of a shot off his stick, Weber is an offensive asset too, scoring 16 goals with 32 assists this past season for the Preds.
-- Brian Stubits