The American Hockey League is targeting a Feb. 5 start date for next season.
The AHL's board of governors determined that projected start date during a call Wednesday.
The AHL is the top minor league affiliate of the NHL, which is targeting a Jan. 1 start for the season.
A typical AHL season usually starts after the NHL gets underway.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says he doesn't expect the AHL announcement to affect the NHL's planning.
Daly adds the AHL has kept the NHL informed during its decision-making process and those general managers were briefed last week.