The NHL's free-agent market opens Friday, but don't expect Flyers general manager Ron Hextall to be pushing an oversize shopping cart.

Oh, he will be shopping. He just doesn't have a lot of cap space to spend freely on big-name free agents.

So Hextall, who is committed to building through the draft, will be looking for bargains _ forwards who can improve the team, on and off the ice, and not break the bank.

Unless he can trade veteran defenseman Mark Streit or fading winger Matt Read, the Flyers don't have the money to pursue top free agents such as  Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo, or Loui Eriksson.

David Backes, Andrew Ladd, and Mikkel Boedker may also be too expensive.

"We're committed to getting better," Hextall said. "Just not at all costs. At a reasonable cost."

More than likely, the Flyers will set their sights on second-tier free agents such as 6-foot-1, 205-pound left winger Jamie McGinn or 6-3, 213-pound right winger Troy Brouwer.

McGinn, whose brother, Tye, once played for the Flyers, had a combined 22 goals (a career high) and 39 points with Buffalo and Anaheim last season, when he had a $2.95 million cap hit. A physical player who played on the Ducks' top six, he turns 28 on Aug. 5.

The feisty Brouwer, who turns 31 on Aug. 17, had 18 goals, 39 points, and 200 hits with St. Louis last season; he had a $3.66 million cap hit.

Both McGinn and Brouwer aren't true snipers. But the Flyers will be hard-pressed to find a much-needed explosive scorer because of their limited cap space.

Other free-agent forwards who could fit in the Flyers' budget: Shawn Matthias, Frans Nielsen, David Perron, Darren Helm, Dale Weise, P.A. Parenteau, Teddy Purcell, and Matt Martin.

The cap has been set at $73 million. The Flyers have about $11.9 million in space, but they still must sign their restricted free agents _ they made qualifying offers to five of them, including Brayden Schenn and Nick Cousins _ and Hextall would like to bring back unrestricted free agent Ryan White.

Based on the expected cost to re-sign his own free agents, Hextall figures to have between $3 million and $4 million to spend on another team's free agent. He said that when he's done spending, he hopes to have about $2 million in cap space for emergency purposes.

"July 1 is a funny day," Hextall said after the draft in Buffalo. "With the cap flat, there might be some guys out there that are good buys, but that's not going to happen July 1. That's usually the 5th or 10th or 15th of July, when guys realize there's not much out there."

In other words, he's hoping some players reduce their salary demands if there isn't much interest from teams.

The Flyers are also among the many teams keeping close tabs on 6-1, 195-pound Jimmy Vesey, a high-scoring left winger at Harvard who is expected to become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 15.

Buffalo acquired his negotiating rights last week by sending a third-round draft pick to Nashville, which selected Vesey in the third round of the 2012 draft. Starring for Harvard, the senior won the Hobey Baker award as the nation's best college player last season.

The Sabres' chances of signing Vesey probably would have increased if they could have landed Steven Stamkos. But it was announced Wednesday that the free-agent superstar is staying with Tampa Bay.

The Flyers need an infusion of offense. They finished 22nd out of 30 teams in scoring (2.57 goals per game) last season and managed a total of just six goals in a six-game playoff loss to Washington, and one of those scores was an empty-netter.