I would like a term used by linguists that stands for the predicate minus the arguments of the verb.
One possible candidate is “verb group.” This link, http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/verb%20group, defines “verb group” as follows:
verb group ( verb groups plural ) A verb group or verbal group consists of a verb, or of a main verb following a modal or one or more auxiliaries. Examples are “walked,” “can see,” and had been waiting.”
But the latter definition doesn’t come from a linguistics source as far as I can tell.
Another possible candidate is “verb phrase.” The SIL Linguistic Glossary site (http://www-01.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsAVerbPhrase.htm) gives two definitions: a definition from traditional grammar that resembles the above definition of “verb group,” and a definition from generative grammar that is synonymous with “predicate.”
Which term would fill the bill?