2006-07: Vauhkonen began to make the transition from Jr B hockey onto Jr A level in the Jokerit organization. The season wasn’t easy for him, as he still grew two inches in his draft year. In domestic rinks, he was outscored by most national team players, but internationally the tall winger was easily strong enough to make the U18 World Championships. There his performance was one of the most pleasant surprises. Two goals and two assists were plays reviewed by many NHL scouts.
2008-09 – Made his debut at the SM-Liiga level with limited ice-time in eleven games for Jokerit (no points or penalty minutes). Though the pace of SM-Liiga play proved to be a bit too much, it is hoped that with a full summer of training with the men’s team he can secure a regular spot and utilize his size and strength to be a force in the future. He had his best season yet playing for the A junior team, scoring twenty goals in twenty-seven games. At the same time, as a twenty-year old he was facing many opponents who were younger and smaller.
Vauhkonen’s strength since junior days has been his size and strength against smaller opponents. Now 6’4, 205, he has developed a bruising style of play which has made him a favorite of Jokerit fans. Despite his physical style, he is extremely disciplined and has a strong understanding of the game. At the junior level he has also developed a bit of a scoring touch – though a majority of his goals come from determination plays in front of the net rather than highlight reel plays. For a big man, he does have surprising stick handling and passing skills. The key challenge for him will always be whether his skating speed is fast enough and whether he can develop enough quickness and mobility for the faster pace of professional hockey. Few players combine the force of his body checks with the temperament to remain focused on the task at hand.