Why would a team *not* file for arbitration prior to the July 1st FA period if they are in negotiations with an RFA but haven't finalized anything, in order to protect them from offer sheets (as the Devils and Preds did with Parise and Weber, respectively)? Is there some downside that I'm missing? The case that made me think about this is the hubbub about offer sheet attacks on Stamkos going Tampa's way at 12. (Please note, this is just a rumor, and I don't believe any major hockey media source has reported anything concrete; hence why I made this separate from the FA discussion thread. But it still doesn't make sense to me that Yzerman wouldn't file for arbitration simply as insurance, especially if he intends to match any offer sheet and ensure Stamkos is on the team).
Second question: When a team presents an offer sheet to an RFA, is that all that is necessary to force the player's current team to match the offer, or does the player have to agree to that offer sheet first before it is binding? To use a completely made-up example, I can imagine that a player is offered 5 million/year from his team on June 30, wants 6.5 (and this is a hometown discount price as he's quite good), but on July 1st another team offers him 8 million/year. Must he sign on to the 8 million offer for his team to have to match to retain him, or is simply the offer being made sufficient? I ask because I can imagine this creates a situation where a player is committed to one team and really wants to remain with that team for slightly more than they are currently offering, and so would actually not want an offer sheet (as this might force his team to give him up for compensation). I realize this is a rather convoluted question, so please ask for clarification if I haven't been clear. Thanks!