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.
The bottom line here is that at least we can put aside the speculation over another team coming in with an offer sheet. Negotiations can continue between the Preds and Shea Weber's agent all the way through the arbitration process (if it actually came to a hearing), up to the point where an arbitrator actually issues a ruling.