It's the second time games have been lost because of a lockout in seven years.
The announcement was made in a two-paragraph statement from the NHL. It was not clear if those games would be made up if a deal is struck soon with the players.
"Certainly fair to say that if we reach a deal, we will be looking to reconfigure (the) schedule in a way that would maximize (the) season consistent with health and safety concerns for the Players," Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com.
The league and the players have been unable to work out how to split up $3 billion in hockey-related revenues. Although there have been negotiations, the two sides haven't gotten any closer to a deal on core economic issues.
Players received 57 percent of hockey-related revenue in the deal that expired Sept. 15, and the NHL wants to bring that number below 50 percent - perhaps as low as 47 percent. The players' association, led by former baseball union chief Donald Fehr, has rejected that idea.
Daly said the league had already lost $100 million in revenues from canceled preseason games. The players will begin feeling the real sting when they don't get their first paychecks of the season Oct. 15.
The league's opening night was supposed to be next Thursday, but all games have been canceled through Oct. 24.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.