Blue Jackets looking to trade Mason and Carter

A new goaltender for next season is a certainty.

The Blue Jackets appear ready to cut the cord with Steve Mason, who has endured three brutal seasons since his award-winning rookie season carried the Jackets to the playoffs in 2008-09.

Trading Mason won’t be easy, and it might require the Blue Jackets to eat a bad contract in return. Mason is signed through next season at a salary-cap hit of $2.9 million, and has a $3.2 million salary for 2012-13.

Hard to believe it has come to this, but if Mason can’t be traded, the Blue Jackets will consider putting him on waivers, exposing him to any club willing to claim him and pay the remainder of his contract. It’s a move that has been considered at least a couple of times earlier this season.

If Mason clears waivers, he could be sent to minor-league Springfield, thus delaying a decision — trade, buyout, give him another chance next season, etc. — until after the season.

Another wrinkle the Blue Jackets have embraced: Agitator/right wing Derek Dorsett, one of the few Blue Jackets whose “effort” never seems to wane, has been given the ‘A’ of an alternate captain, and it’s not a temporary move. It’s unclear who, if anyone has lost the ‘A’, but R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski were captain Rick Nash’s alternates at the start of the season.

The Blue Jackets head into the All-Star break later this week as the NHL’s biggest disappointment.

They will come out of the break as one of the league’s more compelling teams heading into the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

Don’t be surprised if Carter — ballyhooed as the long-awaited No. 1 center just six months ago — is sent packing to one of the many clubs in the NHL who are looking for a top-six forward.